The Patience of Job
Patience is one of those things that a lot of people lack, myself included. When someone takes too long to say something, or when someone in front of me is walking too slowly, it makes me want to crash through a window and run screaming into the ocean. So if you have a problem with patience, trust me, I get it. (By the way, this post isn’t about Job; I don’t have anything to say about him, I just thought it was a good title).
But the Bible does have a lot to say about patience and why it’s important.
God is patient with us.
1 John 4:8 tells us that God is love, and 1 Corinthians 13 (also known as the love chapter in the Bible) teaches us that God’s patience is an expression of that love, and that we ought to love in the same way, and how we can do so. The chapter literally starts off with: “Love is patient, love is kind…” So when I’m angrily waiting for someone to get to their point, or if I’m wanting to pummel someone for holding me up on something, I have to ask myself: Am I being loving? And when these thoughts creep into my head, most of the time, the answer is no. This is not what God wants for me, because I should always seek to be an expression of God’s love; therefore I should be patient just as He is patient with me.
God is patient with unbelievers.
God showed His great love for us by sending His perfect Son to die on the cross for the sins of the world. Anyone who believes and accepts His sacrifice has been forgiven, and has eternal life. Jesus has promised to return for us who believe, but do you ever wonder what’s taking Him so long to come back?
2 Peter 3:9 says:
“The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”
God is giving unbelievers time to believe in His Son Jesus, and commit their lives to Him. Aren’t you glad that the Second Coming didn’t happen before you became a Christian? Aren’t you glad that God is patient?
Since God is patient with us, we need to be patient with others.
Ephesians 4:2 reminds us to “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” So when your sister is taking too long in the bathroom, or when you feel your friend just wants to argue and not let you speak, or when someone is standing unusually and uncomfortably close to you and it’s making you crazy, you’ll need to consider your reaction. Don’t throw a shoe at your sister, that’s not gentle. Don’t throw an elbow at someone in your personal space, that’s not being humble or gentle either. Pray and be patient, because after all, God is patient with us.
Are there times when we need to be patient with God?
Well let’s see, have you ever prayed that there will be peace in your household but things only seem to get worse? Have you ever prayed that a friend will heal but they never seem to get better? Have you ever prayed for a loved one’s salvation but they only seem to get farther away from God? These are all times when waiting on God can be extremely difficult. So yes, there are times when we need to be patient with God.
If you feel yourself getting impatient with the Lord after a few days, weeks, months, or even years, I find it humbling to look at the poor saps in the Old Testament. The Israelites had to wait hundreds upon hundreds of years for a Messiah, and some even doubted that He’d ever come!
And look at John the Baptizer in the New Testament. After he baptized Jesus and proclaimed Him to be the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world, while he was in prison, John doubted if Jesus really was the Messiah. Jesus told John to look at the things that He was doing. We should do the same thing. Look at all that Jesus has done in your life and in the lives of other believers around you. Remember the prayers that you know He has answered in the past. These are proof that God keeps His promises. 1 John 5:14 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us." So have patience, because God hears your prayers and He will answer them.
Naomi’s Nugget: God has a reason for everything. Psalm 37:7 says: “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” If you feel like God is taking forever to answer your prayer, know that His timing is perfect, and that all is going according to His plan. Just be patient.
— S. Naomi King