Patience. It's a word that's been on my mind a lot lately......because I've seemed to need to have a lot of it! I've been facing some new challenges, needing answers to things that don't come quickly......and all I can do is be patient and walk through each challenge. It's a simple word with 7 letters. Seven is one of my favourite numbers. But I'm not so fond of this thing that is 7 because I'm continually challenged by it!
Actually, I've felt I've learned a lot about patience the last few years. But I guess it's one of those things that is a never ending area of learning. I will think that I've learned a lot, and that I'm ready to move on......and then a whole new level of learning comes along - and I find I need more patience.
When you have to remain calm and at peace while waiting a long time for something - or when you have to deal with difficult problems that aren't solved quickly - you find out very quickly how truly patient you are - or aren't! I've definitely seen that I have areas where I need to learn and grow more.
I've heard people say that we shouldn't pray for patience because we don't know what we're asking for. They say that the prayer will probably be met with lots of huge challenges, maybe suffering, maybe trials. Maybe, maybe not. But I think it's definitely something we should ask God for as it's listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit - and we definitely want those in our lives.
I've been learning on our unexpected journey that suffering, while hard, can be a gift. We grow through suffering in our lives in ways that we can't in any other way. Suffering causes us to press into the Lord in deep and powerful ways. There is a level of intimacy with Him that we walk into through suffering that is precious and beautiful.
And trials - I don't think they're optional. They're part of the territory in the fallen world we live in. But we're not alone in going through them. He is right beside us, holding our hand, guiding us, helping us, and getting us safely through them.
So back to patience. I'm still learning, but I'm choosing to focus on Him as I walk through the new challenges and learn more about that 7 letter word. "Love is patient." And God is pouring out His love to me as I learn about patience.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud." 1 Corinthians 13:4
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12
"But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." Romans 8:24,25
"Whoever is patient has great understanding." Proverbs 14:29
"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him." Psalm 37:7
"Therefore, as God's chosen people holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." Colossians 3:12
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness." Galatians 5:22
There's no magic formula in walking through hard times. I wish there was. But choosing to walk in patience is a big help in navigating the difficult path. I'm so grateful that God helps us grow in our patience - being patient with us as we grow!