I guess it’s fitting that this blog entry discusses patience for adults since my last blog involved patience for children (i.e. “The Patience Game.”)
No sooner did I enter that blog post last week, than I found myself immersed in a weeklong battle of feeling impatient towards God with some things in my prayer life. I guess I need to play the patience game myself!
Isn’t it amazing though how the Lord knows how to reveal something in His word to you at just the right time in your life?
That’s what happened to me at the end of this week. As I mentioned, it was just a totally blah week for me spiritually. We all go through those times. Sometimes we can just sense God’s presence a lot more than other times (praise the Lord for those times). Last week I was just in one of those weeks where I just didn’t feel “close” to God (or as close as I had been in recent weeks). I kept having to remind myself of that quote by Tim Keller, “The silence of God is not absence. A sense of His absence is an evidence that He has touched you.”
But I kept wanting to feel close to God, to have a break from the silence on my prayer requests. It’s like I have been praying for some of the same things OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER for so long and for some reason this week it just hit me. I was tired of praying for the same things. I was just frustrated.
Now, by no means did I stop praying for the same things, but I did admit to God how frustrated I was (after, of course, a few stubborn days of feeling frustrated but refusing to admit it to God). In particular, these prayer requests relate to people who are very dear to me who do not believe in Christ. I just want so badly for them to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I mean, these are people that have been in my life and have been on my heart for years now.
Sometimes it is so hard to grasp how God is working things out for good. We don’t know the ending of our stories. These people on my hearts may never come to Christ. What if they don’t? It’s hard….it’s so hard to not know the answers and to instead be faithful….and patient…..
Anyways, I’ve been doing this awesome Beth Moore Bible study called “It’s Tough Being a Woman” and in the audio CD this week she opened up about how she cries out to God for her older brother (who does not believe in Jesus) and how has even before said in her honest conversations with God, “If he’s not going to accept you as Lord, in heaven please take away my memories of him. I just cannot imagine a perfect ending with him not there.”
Now that may seem a harsh statement to some, but it really resonated with me. I get where she’s coming from….as I said before, I just don’t know how God plans to work it all out for good…
Then, at the end of the audio CD this week, Beth remarked how “it’s tough being a woman who can balance passion with patience” and she read off the following verse…
“Yet the Lord LONGS to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who WAIT for him.” – Isaiah 30:18
She noted how the words “LONGS” and “WAIT” referenced above are actually the same word in Hebrew…i.e. they both mean “WAIT” (in fact, if you check some other translations, the word “waits” is actually used instead of “longs” for the part above).
Then, Beth went on to say something that I thought was really profound….in every wait there is a LONGING. If there wasn’t a longing, it would just be “passing time.” The longing is what makes a wait “A WAIT.”
So, what does all this mean, you ask?
THE LORD WAITS TOO!!!!
If He is waiting, and He’s longing, then you better believe there is a good reason for the wait!
Isn’t that an awesome and totally humbling thought?
Knowing that God is probably just as frustrated at the “WAIT” as I am is incredible. He LONGS for everything to be made right (including the concerns I raise to him). But He won’t make it right until it’s the perfectly appointed time….
He is waiting, we are waiting…
God’s patience always involves His passion!
A final quote to wrap this up – in Revelation 1:9 John told his fellow believers that he was “with you all the way in the trial and the Kingdom and the passion of patience in Jesus.”
Right now, I’ll continue to play “The Patience Game” with my three year old to so he can get a good introduction into the practice of patience. But as he grows, I want to make sure that we shift that focus from the practice of patience to the passion of patience….in Jesus…
Because that’s what he’ll need to “endure to the end” (by God’s grace, of course) –
Because that’s what I need to “endure to the end” (by God’s grace, of course) –
The passion of patience IN JESUS!
Grace and peace (and patience!) be with you all –