By Rev Bobby Allen
We are all familiar with the saying “Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can, seldom in a woman, but never in a man.” But if the truth be told, most of us are impatient at times.
We want everything yesterday. We are not a patient people. We tend to be in a horn-honking, microwaving, fast-food eating, express-lane shopping, fury. People don’t like to wait in traffic, in the surgery, at the Post Office.
Some forms of waiting are fairly trivial in the overall scheme of things. But there are more serious and difficult kinds of waiting.
When you come to trust God through Christ you discover that you have to learn to adapt to God’s timetable. You learn also that God has a purpose for your life and it takes time for the purpose to unfold. It takes time for God to fulfil the great purpose. There is great truth in the words of the old hymn “My times are in thy hands….”
Jesus our Saviour and example lived on earth according to the Father’s timetable. He could say “Mine hour has not yet come.” He knew also when God’s hour for Him to be crucified did come.
Waiting may be the hardest single thing we are called to do. In the Bible God comes to Abraham when he is 75 and tells him he is going to be a father, the ancestor of a great nation. How long was it before that promise was fulfilled? Twenty-four years. Abraham had to wait.
We may ask the question, why? Why does God make us wait? If He can do anything, why doesn’t he bring us relief and help and answer - now? In attempting to answer that, someone has said: “What God does in us while we wait is as important as what it is we are waiting for.”
While we are waiting for God to set everything right, we suffer. But suffering produces endurance: endurance, character; and character, hope. God is producing these qualities in us as we wait.
Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be.
So then, we need to heed the words of James ch1 v4: “But let patience have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
Let me conclude with another quotation regarding patience: “Patience is a virtue that carries a lot of wait!”