Patience isn’t a natural state of being – I’m pretty sure of that. In fact I would be really surprised if anybody could convince me otherwise.
I’m willing to accept that we’ve become less patient, especially within the “fast food society” of which we are a part, but patience in itself does not seem to be a part of our inherent nature.
- Take the Israelites marching through the desert, along with many other times – impatient.
- The disciples showed regular signs of impatience when with Christ.
- The Jewish people in new testament times – impatient… expecting Jesus, the Messiah, to be the all conquering and swift-bringer of freedom and fulfilment of prophecy.
You can see it all throughout history, not just in scripture and our current materialistic society must surely have come from some foundational human nature because it cannot have come from nowhere.
Patience is therefore, as far as I can tell, a discipline and something we need to learn and develop. It’s also something that can be tested, pushed, stretched and broken. Moses, for example, knew the trek through the desert would be a long haul but he still fell into impatience at times.
Much as I truly believe I have personally grown in this area, it’s still something that I struggle with and I can easily fall into impatience when the stakes are high. It’s something that I’m daily having to battle with right now.
As I think of it – impatience strikes me as being that tipping point between faith and human realisations and pressures. Where we are right now is a time of stepping out in faith, but the risk from a human perspective (in terms of the effect it could have on our family, our finances – in fact, our lifestyle) feels so great that there are times when that 100% faith in what God has in store for us is overshadowed by our human fears and concerns.
And that leads to impatience.
We want answers now. We want an end to the uncertainty. We want to *know*, not to wait.
Of course, that’s not faith. That is human emotion. The see-saw doesn’t always balance. Faith doesn’t always tie up with our human feelings, no matter how much we have grown or developed.
So what’s the answer when we struggle with impatience and cry out to God for immediacy? I wish I knew fully or at least, I wish I knew how to apply it. I think we need to be honest about our struggles, telling God that we are struggling. We need to ask for more faith, and more patience. And we need to push through.
I may be completely off the wall here, but reading some of the New Testament I could even believe that the human side of Jesus came through in exasperation and frustration sometimes – and that isn’t that far removed from impatience is it? (To clarify, think about when Jesus went to pray and the disciples slept – he got frustrated that they couldn’t stay awake. When calming the storms, his response to the disciples was almost as if to say “why can’t you see it yet” – sounds like a small bit of impatience in my view)
I hope that last paragraph doesn’t cause anybody any offence. Feel free to pull me up over it – but then again, maybe you can understand where I’m coming from.
I need patience, lots of it. I need it now – which is always the irony in these situations. All I can do is try and put it into practice and pray that I see a breakthrough, either in my situation or in new depths of patience.