If you’ve ever been to Disneyland, then you are probably familiar with the coveted FastPass. The FastPass system allows visitors to insert their resort ticket at an attraction and receive an additional FastPass ticket. The FastPass ticket lists a specific time to return to the popular ride and enter a line separate from the normal line. Thus, it provides a shorter wait time. Guests can visit other attractions all the while knowing their spot in line is secure.
If I had it my way, my FastPass would always read a wait time of “zero minutes” so I could constantly enjoy my favorite rides. When I don’t have a FastPass for a ride, the waiting time seems to last a century.
This is a humorous example of my impatient tendencies, but I will be honest: I really do struggle to be patient, especially when I am waiting on God’s timing. Often, it seems that God’s timing is slower than what I would want, yet I have also learned that His timing is always better than my own. Whether it was waiting to hear back on a job offer, figuring out my college roommate, or waiting for a bag of popcorn to finish cooking in the microwave, I’m constantly working on my patience.
Looking back, I am grateful for the times God has made me wait or when He says “no” and closes a door. My initial desires are not what are always best for me.
The Bible has so much to say about patience, but I struggle to always apply it.
What does biblical patience look like?
The word patience used in Galatians 5:22, is the Greek word makrothumia, which means “long-suffering or slowness in avenging wrongs.” Patience is listed in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). If patience is something that exemplifies the qualities of the Spirit, then when we are impatient, we are living by the flesh. Galatians 5:16 tells us not to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Biblical patience is forgiving others when they hurt us or being gentle toward others’ weaknesses and helping them. A practical example of this may be a school teacher who is frustrated with a student who is having trouble following instructions in class. Initially, the teacher’s fleshly desire would be to blow up at the student. However, biblical patience would be for the teacher to be slow to anger toward a student, when they least feel like it. I understand that this is easier said than done, but God is capable of changing our sinful reactions to ones that honor Him.
What if we are tired of waiting on God?
Patience shows itself in many forms. It may not always be patience with another person we need to practice, but maybe it is being patient with life’s circumstances.
In Genesis 16, Sarai (later known as Sarah), becomes frustrated when God has not given her children. Rather than waiting on the Lord’s timing, she insists that her husband obtain children by sleeping with her servant, Hagar. While that was what Sarai initially wanted, she later treated Hagar poorly. Then, in chapter 18, God told Sarah that she would conceive a child in a year, even in her old age. Sarah’s response was laughter and disbelief. However, in chapter 21, the Lord opened Sarah’s womb, and she conceived a son.
In other words, don’t doubt God just because He doesn’t give you something at the exact time you want it (Tweet This). While you may be tempted to take matters into your own hands, like Sarah, when we don’t wait on God’s timing, there can be consequences and resentment.
When you grow tired of waiting on the Lord for whatever you are going through in life, pray to Him and ask for a heart of gratitude that becomes content in waiting on Him.
When God says “no.”
Sometimes I pray for something for so long, and when it doesn’t come to fruition, I feel like God isn’t listening to me. I heard something at the Pursuit 2015 conference about this that really stuck with me: “We say, ‘God, why aren’t You answering my prayer?’ But the truth is, when God isn’t making our prayers come true, He is answering, and His answer is ‘no.’”
This statement brought clarity to my life, because even though my prayer might seem unanswered, I can instead view the “no’s” as closed doors and God’s provision. I have to become comfortable with knowing that God is in control of even the smallest details of my life, and sometimes a “no” can really be a “wait” or a redirection. Either way, we can hope that while we patiently wait on the Lord, He already knows the future. God is for us, not against us, so while we might want something now, it is better to wait on God and His perfect timing.