Patience is a virtue.
That is a phrase my mom always says when waiting seems hard. My name is Jalynn Hoefs. I come from a military family of five. For anyone that has ever been a part of a military family, you know the hardships of moving place to place. It seems like all you do is wait.
There was a time when we were moving and our plane kept getting delayed. We were preparing ourselves to leave for the airport. I personally am not fond of flying, so I was giving myself a pep talk. Telling myself that this is the fastest way to get there, and people do this every day no big deal. We get to the airport, only to find out that we weren’t going anywhere that day. But we would soon realize after returning the following day to do the same thing, it was delayed. After three days of being let down we found out that we would leave a week later.
So, within that week, my mom would repeat that patience was a virtue.
What is a virtue?
Oxford defines a virtue as,
The power or operative influence inherent in a supernatural or divine being.
A virtue is moral excellence obtainable only through direct connection to God. Virtues are what can help us become better people. As I can continue this article, I hope to show you the different ways of patience, so that we all can achieve patience.
So we as humans have a natural gift for being impatient. We live in a society that wants what they want right then and right now. We hate waiting. People dislike waiting in lines (I know I bounce around lines in Wal-Mart in hopes of finding the quickest checkout line). We hate traffic or long road trips (Are We There Yet?). And we hate it when there is an object that we want and cannot get it fast enough (Zach told me how his friend Josh was dying to buy this album on his phone but it would not work and quickly Josh got frustrated due to him being impatient). These are examples of our society being extremely selfish.
Only caring about how quickly YOU receive the things you want. People today are concerned with:
“When am I going to find “the one?”
“When am I going to get that job promotion?”
“When is my fiance going to realize he needs to do the dishes every once and a while also?”
All of these things revolve around “me, myself, and I.” All of this has to do with impatience and timing.
When something does not occur in a certain amount of time, we as humans tend to get a little frustrated. Some people tend to blame God for the amount of time it takes to receive the thing that you want. I know a few people who constantly blame God for their loneliness or their inability to receive a promotion. But I can tell you that I have been there before…
A long time ago, in a country far, far away, I met this guy named Zach. We met in Italy in 2010 and I slowly developed a crush on him. We would talk outside the bowling alley on the Air Force Base and he would check up on me at lunch. He was a really great guy.
Now, one time outside the bowling alley we began talking about where we were moving to after Italy and behold both of us were going to Prattville, Alabama. All I could think was “there is still a chance for us.” He left for Alabama first and an unforeseen circumstance occurred, he found a girlfriend.
I was CRUSHED. I had already waited close to a year to be with him and he just went and found another girl. It hurt. One day in March, I saw that the two had split and I thought “Now is my chance!” So I texted him and we began to hang out and on March 17, 2012 (about two years after I had developed my crush on him) we began to date. Now this took a lot of patience.
However, I just waited and prayed and God delivered the answer to my prayer and 4 years later, Zach is now my fiance. It just shows what waiting can accomplish when waiting is needed. Looking back on it, this situation very well taught me about the benefits of patience. What we as people need to understand is that there is no such thing as “our time,” but there is “God’s time.” And it is God’s time that we need to have our clocks in sync too.
See when it comes to wanting things the best way to get those things is to pray. However, if we pray a “me, myself, and I,” prayer, that is going to God with selfishness. We need to approach God with a mindset of selflessness. We need to pray that His will be done. He knows what we desire and he takes that into consideration, but God knows what is best for us and if we pray that He shows us what is best for us and that His will be done then there is a better chance of Him not only saying yes but we will ultimately be better.
Zach likes to tell a story about this evangelist who came to his church. The evangelist claimed that all he wanted was a wife. So he prayed to God for him to bring into his life the woman he would marry. He later discovered that if he did the work that God called him to do then no matter what would happen God would take care of him. After preaching one day, a lady walked up to the evangelist and a few years later they were married. This shows how God’s time really is what matters in the long run.
C.S. Lewis states,
I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait.
God has a plan for you. Whether that plan is to find your significant other in high school, or to find that person when you are 50 years old. God always has your best interest at heart.
We clearly see in the Bible that God makes many of the people He selects to do His work wait for the right opportunity. We see this is true with Moses, The Israelites in the Desert, Noah, Gideon, and many others. I am going to talk about Joseph and Job.
In Genesis, we see a young man by the name of Joseph who is sold into slavery by his brothers. Throughout this story we see Joseph go through many difficult situations such as serving as a slave and being thrown in jail. During this time, Joseph did not understand what was going on or why God allowing all of this to happen. Later, we see Joseph become the right hand to pharaoh after deciphering his dream. Furthermore, we see Joseph save the Egyptians from starvation during the years of famine and ultimately the return of his family who sold him into slavery and asks for his forgiveness.
Now, we see that Joseph remained faithful during all of these situations, but what if he hadn’t? What if he refused to use his gift of deciphering dreams? What if he refused to help store food during the prosperous years before the famine? All I can say is Joseph truly had faith in God and remained patient throughout the many years he was in Egypt.
Job is probably the perfect story to tell about patience. You see Job had everything. He was wealthy, had a big family and a big house. Then one day tragedy struck and everything was stripped away from him. His friends told him he obviously sinned and that he need to curse God’s name and move on. These debates go on for some time and then Job’s health was taken from him. His body became infected with painful boils. Still his friends told him he had done something to upset God and that he needed to just curse God’s name and move on. However, he questioned God. Job 38:1-3 states,
Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
This shows that no matter what the circumstance is God has a plan. At the end of the story, Job gets everything back TWICE! Job remained faithful throughout the whole ordeal and he had no clue as to why these things were happening to him.
We, however, do know why these things were happening. See Satan was caught by some angels and brought before God. God claimed that no matter what, Job would remain faithful to him. So, God allowed Satan to go do whatever he wanted to do to Job. Satan killed his family, livestock, and took away his health. But he still did not curse God’s name.
See, we must accept that things happen for a reason, and when we are going through storms we must remain patient and allow God’s will to be done. We have to face that fact that we do not always understand why God is allowing certain things to happen, but what we do know is that God will always have our best interests at heart because He loves us very much.
In everyday life, we have to interact with people and sometimes people can be a nuisance. Customer service is one of the most difficult jobs to be in simply because people have that mindset of “immediate service.” People who do work in customer service have to be patience with demanding customers. They have to have patience and keep moving forward. And the customers need to learn that not everything is immediate. They need to have patience with the customer service representative.
If people in today’s world were more patient with each other, then I believe our world would be a much better place. Jesus had to be patient with the 12 disciples. There were many times when they did not show faith and through His love for His disciples, Jesus was able to have patience and work with His disciples so that they could continue to grow in their faith and then carry out the great commission.
Just like with everything, patience takes practice. It is hard to go from a mindset of “immediate service,” to a mindset of “I can wait,” and “God, let your will be done, not mine.”
As my good friend Josh Noel says,
Praying is the exercise to help build your patience muscle!
And it is true. Prayer is the best exercise. It is the perfect way to help transform from a selfish mindset to a selfless mindset. It can help you get through the toughest of storms and it allows you to build a relationship with God. (To learn more about prayer, visit www.newlifeallianceblog.wordpress.com).
There also has to be a level of discernment when it comes to patience. Sometimes we are supposed to wait, but when a door opens God is not always going to lead you by the hand through the door. He wants you to take the first step on your own. You have to have the ability to decide when it is time to wait and when it is time to move. Being patient is fantastic but sometimes people will take patience and turn it into laziness. We are to be patient while also doing the work God has for us, not just sit on the couch watching Netflix until God gives us what we want. Remember, the point of patience is to not be selfish. We must be selfless is our walk with God. What we want needs to be what God wants.
Finally, we have to question ourselves. It is always a good idea to ask if you are being patient or impatient or selfish or selfless. We have to learn to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves. Whatever is going on in our life, we must remember that God truly has our best interest at heart, and if He is making us wait, then we need to wait.
Even if we do not understand why we are waiting, we must continue on with our work for God and pray that his will be done. Because doing whatever His will is, will be a million times sweeter than what we truly want.