Many years ago, I came to the conclusion that the will of Almighty God was not dictated by my timeline. Yes, it was a shocking revelation, as my ideas are phenomenal and should be carried out with much haste. Nevertheless, His will is not swayed by the grand nature of my plans, nor is it swayed by my impatience. Consequently, it is also not altered by my complaining when things don't develop in the haste that is preferential to my whims. God loves me, but He simply will not relinquish His sovereign authority to my whiny, juvenile impatience.
But, here's what He has done...
God Almighty, the Creator, the Sustainer, the King of all kings has been patient with me. How about that? I'm impatient, demanding, and very often my side of the conversation is filled with complaining towards Him, but He is gracefully and mercifully patient with me. He's much more patient with me than I am with myself, and He is patient with me because He loves me.
Patience is an integral part of love, and this is based off of His very own definition of love found in 1 Corinthians 13:4 (Love is patient and kind...). In this example alone, I should strive to humbly withdraw my complaining nature and develop more patience while waiting for the development of the will of God in my life. If I'm not patiently waiting on His will, there could be evidence brought forth that I don't love Him like I need to love Him...could there not?
God has always accomplished everything on His timeline. He's never once been early. He's never once been late, and He's never once been wrong. Never. Ever. I, however, have often prematurely taken action too early, I've certainly been late in taking action, and as far as being wrong goes...well, let's just set that conversation aside for the moment. It's painful. In retrospect, I can look back and clearly see why the compassionate, knowledgeable, and loving hand of God, on many occasions, either delayed my own will, or revoked it entirely, from being the integral part of my life that I envisioned. The squashing of my own imperfect plans for the sovereign perfection of His...it shouldn't be so painful. My impatience makes it so. It's often much harder to be attentive to God at the point of juvenile impatience. But, we must still wait on the Lord...
Woven throughout Scripture are examples that tell us we must wait on Him...
"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land." —Psalm 37:7-9 (ESV)
"Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains."
—James 5:7 (ESV)
"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." —Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)
"Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you."
—Psalm 33:20-22 (ESV)
I could go on...there are many examples, but it is obviously God's will that we need to develop some patience and wait on Him. There are Godly promises attached to patience and patient endurance. Good things...God things...happen when we develop patience.
Those who struggle with patience often struggle with the defining of their faith. Is our faith solidly based on the truths of Scripture, defined by the sovereignty and perfect will of Almighty God, or is our faith based on our perception of the perceived sluggishness in how quickly God acts when we call? If God doesn't give us what we want, when we want it, how we want it...is God still faithful? Does He still love us as we demand? Where is the button to push for quick service?
Here's something to think about for those of us who have little patience...and, be warned, you may not like it. Our impatience is a manifestation and proof that we are not allowing God, and the Holy Spirit, to work in us and transform our life. Does this mean that impatient people are not 'saved?' The answer to that is 'no,' but it does mean that impatient people are not walking as closely with God as He would desire. We're not close enough to God to realize all of the gifts that the Spirit of God seeks to incorporate into us...
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness..."
—Galatians 5:22 (ESV)
So, for those among us who feel that "we're just impatient" and "that's the way God made us"...know this, it's not the way God made you. You couldn't be more wrong. God is seeking to transform the old and make it new...
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." —2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
Faith is either built or destroyed by how we grow in Christ, and a larger part of that growth process than I'm often personally uncomfortable with is the development of patience. God's will is worth the wait. He's doing something new...something spectacular. Be patient.
Keith Beatty is a Worship, Missions and Media Pastor living in North Alabama. He's excited and very humbled to be a follower of Jesus Christ!