Have you ever heard the joke – don’t ask God to give you patience, otherwise He’ll put you into loads of frustrating situations that challenge your patience!
I never quite understood that because, I don’t know about you, but I don’t actually make a habit of praying randomly for particular gifts. I usually pray for the things I need right now – don’t you? The time I pray for patience is when I’m already in a difficult situation; that’s when I feel the need for patience! When I’ve been waiting for too long, when things seem intolerable, or when, underneath my frustration at the circumstances or the people, I’m actually feeling quite anxious. That’s when I might start praying for patience (and for help!)
We know that patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Patience is also something that produces good fruit in our lives. If we hold on despite how bad we are feeling we develop perseverance. And that results in both character and hope (Romans 5:3-4).
The opposite of patience and perseverance is giving up. You can see why giving up would have the opposite effect, weakening our character and taking us on the road to despair and hopelessness.
Patience comes from learning to wait. Perhaps that’s obvious, but it struck me recently. Patience comes as we learn to wait, even in the middle of the distress we’re feeling. But we don’t have to wait alone. The Lord offers us His arms of love to rest in while we wait. ‘Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret’ (Psalm 37:7).
A while ago I found myself in a distressing situation, where I couldn’t do anything but wait. It seemed intolerable, but then I sensed the Lord’s voice clearly saying, “Lean on me.” As I rested my agitated heart in Him, the loveliest sense of peace came over me. If you’re struggling today, He says the same to you right now, “This is too hard for you to cope with alone. Lean on me.” Don’t be afraid. Just think what a wonderful offer this is from the God of the universe! He really does care for you.
We learn patience as we learn to wait. And we learn to wait as we learn to rest in the Lord - trusting Him in the situation; asking for His help and trusting Him to bring that help at the right time. We may need to repeat this many times, because the anxiety comes back, but gradually the fruit of the Spirit will grow in us, as well as both character and hope.
May you know the strength of God Almighty as you lean on Him today.
Prayer: Lord God, I need You today. Sometimes I wonder how long I can keep going. Please help me to lean on You, so I can rest in You. Pour Your strength into me today. I lean on You now. Help me to wait patiently and not to fret. Thank You for Your great love and for hearing my cry. Amen.
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