American culture does not take kindly to any human need to extend patience nor to sit with it. We have created kiosks to speed up our time at the DMV, and we now have people standing in the drive-thru lines with tablets just so that our five-minute wait time doesn’t have to even be that long. But with this shift in culture comes a disconnect—and often a frustration—in our understanding of a God who embodies patience in all that He is and does. So, here are three reasons why patience is key in a fast-paced world.
1. The Lord Himself is patient.
Whether you began following the Lord this morning or have dedicated most of your life to Him, you have probably realized by now that He accomplishes His will in His own time. This concept is a great source of tension for us, as we would honestly rather not have to spend time waiting to see what comes next in the midst of our uncertainties. 2 Peter 3:9 reminds us, though, that “The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.” In taking what appears to be His own sweet time, God is being deliberate so that others may come to see Him at work in the world, but also through us in the ways we live our lives on mission.
2. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit.
Simply put, patience is one of the marks of being a follower of Christ. It’s no coincidence that in 1 Corinthians 13:4, in the passage of Scripture so notably referred to as “The Love Chapter,” patience is the first attribute listed when we are called to reflect upon how love is carried out within our tangible world. The patience we are willing to extend to those in service jobs, to our spouses, to our coworkers, and to all we may come into contact with serves as enduring evidence to the world that the Holy Spirit dwells within us and is capable of making us new.
3. It carries into our relationships with others.
Your gracious patience with others in the midst of their sin, struggle, and heartache will be a reflection of God’s good grace to the world. Patience isn’t a trait that any of us just inherently have; it is the fruit of a life of sacrifice and of the pride of the flesh that has been denied. You are able to demonstrate to those in your circle of influence the patience of the Father to us though we could never deserve such love. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:1-2 to “walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”
One of the most encouraging verses in all of the Word of God relates to the patience of the Lord and His faithfulness towards us, though we may not see it nor feel like we are in the place we wish we to be. Paul writes in Philippians 1:6, “I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” If you find that patience is an area where you are currently lacking, then be comforted by these words from the Lord: He is faithful to continue His good work within you.