Why is patience so hard? Does anyone truly understand what it means to be patient? What is the longest amount of time you’ve had to wait for something? How many of us have said, “I almost lost my patience.”
So, what is patience?
One of the definitions that I found in the dictionary states that patience is “an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay”. Therefore according to this definition, some may have the ability to be more patient than others, while some may just need to be willing to accept that there is going to be delay in life. The question is, how will each of us respond when confronted with delay?
James chapter one states that “…the testing of your faith produces patience. 4But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:3-4 NKJV). What seems clear in this passage is that faith and patience are tied together. Is it possible that we have been waiting on an answer from God for weeks, months, or even years because He might possibly be testing our faith in Him? I don’t know, but what I do know is that as we mature in Christ, He will put our faith to the test, which in turn produces more patience in in knowing that God’s timing is perfect.
I enjoy the way Zane Hodges explains faith and patience in his commentary of James. He states that,
God’s intention in allowing our faith to be tested is to produce patience, more accurately, ‘endurance’ or ‘perseverance.’ The author of Proverbs wrote, If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small (Prov 24:10). God is in the business of building up strong Christian men and women who can “persevere” in hard times without fainting. …Too often we are so eager to escape our difficulties that we seek mere relief from the trial, rather than to gain every possible spiritual benefit from it (Hodges, pg.19).
How will we respond the next time our faith is tested? Will we endure or persevere to see what God may be trying to teach us? I have experienced much stress and loss of sleep when I continue to focus on the temporary and not on the eternal. I have realized that the more I give my frustrations of life to God on a daily basis, the more I find comfort in knowing that He is in control and I’m not. As we continue to face various types of delay in life, be willing to allow God to give you the ability to have the patience to endure.