I still consider myself a fairly young pastor. I’ve been privileged to sit underneath the teaching of some great men, but more and more I realize that some lessons only come with time. As I am privileged to pastor a wonderful group of believers known as the International Baptist Church at Dumaguete, I watch for people’s needs and there is one thing that keeps coming up again and again as something we could all use a little more of. Patience.
“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” – Hebrews 10:36
If these words were necessary for the believers in the Apostle Paul’s day, how much more are they relevant to this time when we are living at a much faster pace. In this day of instant everything – instant coffee, instant messaging, instant cash at an ATM, etc., we’ve grown to expect that if something doesn’t happen quickly it is either an inconvenience to us, or not good at all. Nothing is ever fast enough for us. We need the newest computer processor because our computer is too slow. We need the bigger engine so we can drive faster. We need the microwave so we can warm things faster; and on and on and on.
The problem is that we take these conveniences of the modern world and we expect to see their speed also in our spiritual lives. When we have a need, it’s not that we don’t pray, but because we don’t see an instant response to our prayer, we find another solution. God just doesn’t move fast enough for us. He doesn’t help us with our finances fast enough, so we make bad choices that will, in the end, compound our problems. He doesn’t answer our prayer fast enough about the right job, so we start looking elsewhere for anything called a job. He doesn’t answer our prayer fast enough about a mate, and so we impatiently begin making our own decisions ignoring their consequences. Rather than with patience be obedient with our finances in tithes and offerings, we forsake our giving in search of the get-rich-quick schemes or the promises of fast or easy money. If a situation is not corrected with a quick prayer, we start rearranging our lives – usually what is done in haste is not in faith.
It is good for us to learn to wait. It is a sign that we have faith in God to wait on His timing, His answers, His solutions. When we begin to take matters into our own hands, we’ve taken the matter out of God’s hands.
I’m reminded of the time that Samuel confronted King Saul over his assuming a responsibility that was not rightfully his.
“And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.” – 1 Samuel 13:11-12
So often the test of our faith is the length of time we will remain faithful; it is tested in the amount of pressure we endure while remaining faithful. Faith is proven over a period of time in the face of diverse difficulties. Faith is not usually determined in a moment. Faith is seen in our willingness to endure while we trust. It is casting our care upon God, and not walking away with the worry or anxiety. May we all learn to let patience haver her perfect work.
“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” – James 1:4
So many people are hurting and doing without, unnecessarily, simply because of a lack of patience. Simply because they didn’t believe God was doing something, when in truth, He was. It is no wonder our modern churches are compromising when we don’t see the instant success, or fast enough growth. We plant and water, but forget, God giveth the increase. It would do all of us good to make sure that first, we are doing the will of God, and then secondly, keep doing the will of God, and then thirdly, keep doing the will of God, until we receive the promise – whenever God decides it is time. We can trust Him! Just be patient.