I have always considered myself to be a rather patient person. Slow traffic doesn’t bother me; i don’t get upset about waiting in line at the grocery store; it doesn’t bother me to be stuck behind a tractor on the highway. Waiting is something we all have to do, so why get upset about it? My 2 year-old on the other hand, doesn’t yet understand this concept, and it can make me a little crazy. When he wants a cup of juice, he wants me to drop what I’m doing (even if it’s making him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich) and get the juice. He stands next to the sink in the kitchen, asking me 20 times in 30 seconds for apple juice. He only stops when he sees me getting a cup out of the cabinet and pulling the juice from the refrigerator. No matter how many times I say, “I’m working on it,” or “Yes, just give Mommy a second,” he doesn’t believe me until he sees me doing it.
Last Sunday the pastor of our church gave a sermon on Genesis 16 and 17. God made a promise to Abram, but after waiting a while, he decided he better work on it himself. From that came the birth of Ishmael. In Genesis 17 God reassured Abram that he had not forgotten his promise, but God didn’t need Abram’s assistance in fulfilling it. The covenant would be fulfilled through Isaac, the son of God’s plan, not Ishmael, the son of Abram’s plan. Until God laid it out in front of him, step by step, he didn’t believe him.
Much like my 2 year-old.
You see, I may be patient with everyday inconveniences, but the big stuff? Well, I’m realizing lately that’s a different story. On and off, for years now, I have prayed a similar prayer over and over, and over. I cringe to think that over the last 2 years I have sounded like my own 2 year-old to God. It makes me so very thankful for 1 Corinthians 13:4, “Love is patient…” I’m glad He can (and does) overlook my whining! He understands that while I hear Him saying, “I’ve got this. I said yes, now let me work on it,” just like Abram, and my son, I have a hard time believing it until I see the details laid out before me.
Now I have changed my prayer. There is no need for me to continue asking God for something He has promised me. Instead, I will thank God for His promise. I will pray that the details will all be worked out and that I will have the patience, wisdom, strength, and words to help my family deal with the waiting also.
This morning I decided to start Beth Moore’s Esther study again. I have done this study once before, but it has been on my mind for a week now, so I figured I better listen and go get it off the shelf. Sure enough, there in black and white, on page 14,”When we trust our lives to the hand and pen of an unseen but ever-present God, He will write our lives into His story and every last one of them will turn out to be a great read. With a grand ending. And not just in spite of those catastrophes. Often because of them.”
Patience isn’t just a matter of waiting. It’s remember God’s promises to us and waiting for His answer. His plans and timing are perfect, even if we can’t see all the details. Trust in Him. A good friend recently told me that she explains patience to her 3 year old daughter by saying, “Being patient is waiting happy.” I think that’s a good definition for a 3 year-old and a 25 year-old.
“Wait for the Lord; Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
PS – As I was typing this my son finished his cup of milk and asked for a cup of juice. Twice. And took his diaper off. Twice. This is a lesson on patience in parenting too. 🙂