While demonstrating my usual level of impatience, my husband reminded me the other evening that God's timing is much different than our own. As we were talking about some circumstances that concerned us, he encouraged me with words something like this:
Our impatience shouldn't get in the way of God's sanctification in us or in others.
I've let those words soak in the past few days. Most of us can relate to being more on the impatient end of the spectrum, I would suppose. If prayer requests are any indication, I hear an awful lot of prayers for patience (and the obligatory reaction: "Oh no, you don't want to pray for patience!") so I don't think I'm alone in this area.
But, do we consider how our impatience is attempting to shortcut sanctification?
(On a side note, isn't it ironic that on this post about patience that my wi-fi is taking a millllllllion years to upload my photos?!?!)
If I am so focused on getting to a solution NOW or forcing another person to change NOW, then am I not getting in God's way of sanctifying us? And yet, I keep pushing my agenda through and demanding quick changes.
As I've been considering why in the world I would do this, I think it ultimately comes down to a few things. One, I struggle with trusting God. And, two, I don't like pain.
But, as I meditate on God's word, His truth changes my feelings and realigns my mind with truth. If I don't trust in God, then I'm am believing lies instead of truth. He is the One who is unchanging. He is a firm foundation who saves me, defends me, protects me. Wow! In the wait, the trial will NEVER even shake me!
There is a lot of fear when I imagine pain involved in the wait. Maybe it's a physical pain, but more than likely, it's an emotional pain. Yet, as I dwell on the truth about God, there really is a rest in Him. It's real, not imagined or contrived. Knowing the truth about God will give me patience in any situation.
I don't have to rush in to fix his or her problem. God is at work, sanctifying. If someone doesn't respond to a rebuke or exhortation, I can trust that the Holy Spirit is far more powerful than I in making any changes in another person. And, as far as my own impatience toward myself, well, God is at work...even in me. I'm so thankful!
When we want to fix everything and see immediate responses, we are practicing impatience and perhaps short-cutting God's sanctifying work in another person (or in ourselves). Do we trust Him? Do we really believe He is powerful?
If we do, then hope for what you do not see just yet. Hope and wait for it patiently.