“Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus.”
Romans 15: 5
King James Version
“Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.”
Is there something in my life that I long for but need to learn to be patient for God’s timing?
“With time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.”
“A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains.”
I can’t remember one Christmas in my life when I wasn’t eager to see what was in a certain box I had secretly opened early. Patient – I am not. And over the years of my life, I have found myself in situations where it appears God is trying to teach me that “they that ‘wait’ upon the Lord shall, renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31, K.J.V.).
If there is one prominent lesson you and I can learn from the lives of Abram, Sarai and Hagar, it is the lesson that the apostle Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 13 when he said, “Love is patient and kind.”
Let’s look at the opportunities our cast of characters had to display the virtue of patience.
Opportunity #1: If Abram had been patient and waited for God to provide food along the journey, he and Sarai would never have gone to Egypt.
Opportunity #2: Once in Egypt, if Abram and Sarai had been patient and allowed God to work out the predicament with Pharaoh, it is unlikely Hagar would have been forced to leave her family and home and be taken as a slave from the place of her birth.
Opportunity#3: If Sarai and Abram had been patient with God’s timeline for giving them their promised child, Hagar would not have had Ishmael and the consquences that have followed would not have taken place.
Opportunity#4:If Sarai had shown kindness and patience to her slave girl, Hagar, it is possible Hagar would not have been so prone to the bitterness she heaped on Sarai in return.
The fact is, because of the impatience practiced in the lives of God’s chosen people, life on this planet has never been the same again and even now, we are experiencing in the world’s political arena, the consequences that transpired when Abram and Sarai ran ahead of God.
While waiting for things to take place according to a Heavenly plan can frustrate us earthlings who have our own agendas, in the end, as Joseph Cossman so astutely penned, “The greatest power is often simple patience.”
“God aims to exalt himself by working for those who wait for Him.”
“The Lord is … patient with you. 2 Peter 3:9
“You also must be patient. James 5:8
“You keep us waiting.
You, the God of all time,
want us to wait,
for the right time in which to discover
who we are, where we must go,
who will be with us, and what we must do.
So thank you… for the waiting time.
You keep us looking.
You, the God of all space,
want us to look in all the right and wrong places
for signs of hope,
for people who are hopeless,
for visions of a better world which will appear
among the disappointments of the world we know.
So thank you… for the looking time.
You keep us loving.
You, the God whose name is love,
want us to be like you—
to love the loveless and the unlovely and the unlovable;
to love without jealousy or design or threat;
and, most difficult of all,
to love ourselves.
So thank you … for the loving time.
And in all this,
You keep us.
Through hard questions with no easy answers;
through failing where we hoped to succeed
and making an impact when we felt we were useless;
through the patience and the dreams and the love of others;
and through Jesus Christ and his Spirit,
You keep us.
So thank you … for the keeping time,
And for now,
And for ever,
From the Iona Community Worship Book
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.