I have instant access to a multitude of things. I expect the lights, oven, computer, iron, and so much more, to respond immediately at the touch of a switch. When it doesn’t I find myself becoming irritated; I don’t have time to sort things out! My expectation of immediacy easily spreads the irritation outwards. There’s the person in front of me at the checkout who’s taking too much time, or the traffic lights taking ‘forever’ to change, or the endless waiting in a customer service phone queue! I had considered myself to be a patient person, until Yahweh began showing me these things.
The apostle Paul wrote, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” [Philippians 4:12, italics added]. I love the fact that he had to learn this lesson! I’m trying to learn how to hold my heart in peace when the hustle and bustle of the world tempts me to be annoyed; to learn the secret of being contented. It’s easy for the impatience to spill over into spiritual areas, too, especially that of our prayer life. We can be in such a hurry to have our prayers answered, but Yahweh “refuses to be stampeded into premature action” [J. Oswald Sanders]. How does this affect us? Do we feel we aren’t being heard? Or loved? Or noticed? Yahweh does things in His own time and at His own pace, because He sees the greater picture, and He knows best. The Bible is full of examples of patient waiting both for answers to prayer and for the fulfilment of promises. For example, Isaac was born twenty years after Yahweh promised Abraham a son, while David was crowned king twenty years after his initial anointing.
The Bible urges us to “imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” [Hebrews 6:12]. As we walk with Yahshua, we will find that faith and patience must often run together in a double harness. “Waiting” concludes J.O. Sanders “is more difficult than believing.” Let us take care that the ‘want it now’ attitude of the 21st century doesn’t impact our relationship with our Father, nor undermine our confidence in Him, or our faith.