Have you ever heard the phrase, “don’t pray for patience unless you actually mean it?” And so you intentionally do not pray for patience as a mere attempt to avoid needing a smidge more patience than normal…
But what about those times you get a healthy dose of needing an abundance of patience, yet never asked to grow in that particular area?! This is where I find myself. In a season of life where patience is not exactly my greatest character quality, but it’s the one being most refined.
You see, I work with kids for a living…need I say more about needing patience? 😉 Some days are incredibly easy and everything runs smoother than planned, everyone is smiling and happy, no major toy-stealing-conflicts to resolve, or time to put play doh away tears, in essence, there are no train wrecks and the day just moves by peacefully. But then there are those other days…when it is one train wreck after another, no one is listening and doing what they want, and I wonder if I accidentally prayed for more patience in my sleep.
Life is very similar. Some seasons move along with few or no bumps on the road, little conflict, fun and terrific memories, laughter that makes your stomach hurt, spontaneous outings, and only minor difficulties.
But then the stormy, hurricane, and tornado weather hits and your life boat is flipped upside down, shredded to pieces, and it seems as though everything has fallen apart and you’re drifting away in an abyss of the stormy seas.
The lightening is bright, thunder loud, waves crashing down, winds whirling around and all you wonder is when the storm is going to pass?!
I find myself in the latter of the two life “scenarios.” Personally, I can’t remember asking God to grow my patience, but I do recall asking Him to continue to mold me more into His likeness, to burn away my impurities and refine my heart, creating beauty from my ashes. I would argue until I am blue in the face that the most growth occurs in the strongest storms. We grow the most in Christ when we are stripped of our idols, when we have sin brought into the light, when the seas of our life are raging wild, and we can’t see the shore line, just the next wave crashing upon us.
It wasn’t until recently I made the correlation of trials to the work of patience God is doing in my heart. You see, like most people, I want problems fixed on my watch and command. I want things on my terms or no terms. Under no circumstance do I want to wait to see answered prayers and have life’s hardest moments turn for the good, yet so often Jesus asks me to wait. Not because He is holding out on me or being a jerk…in fact it’s for the complete opposite reason. It’s because He loves me too much to allow me my own way, or to allow me to stay in stagnant waters.
Growing up, my family and I lived in a waterfront house, simply meaning, there was a river at the end of my front yard. In the summer, we loved playing on the rocks, swimming/canoeing upstream, tubing, etc. I feel like we were in the water quite a bit. And so, naturally, a tubing trip with our cousins was in order. It was a super hot summer day and we dropped in the water maybe two miles up the road from the house. We all assumed it would be maybe a two hour tubing adventure and brought no food or water…since you know, it was NOT going to take all day. Low and behold, we hit stagnant water, shallow water, a herd of cows, and about seven hours, yes you read that right, seven hours later, we arrive back home. In the moment of each of these at times peculiar obstacles, not one of us found humor or enjoyment…but looking back, it’s an adventure I am so thankful for.
Life trials are not usually that humorous and no, I do not normally look back fondly on these stormy seas because it was fun or gave me a good chuckle. But I look back and I see growth, I see Jesus molding my heart to wait on Him, I see my heart changing…not necessarily my circumstances. I look back and Jesus standing on the waters with me, helping me fight each wave, I look back and see Jesus as my anchor, the hand guiding me, the Father protecting me, love and grace surrounding my every moment. It’s these times I am also being taught patience and sole surrender to Jesus. He’s not going to let me drown, but the waters may not part the second I command them to. Jesus is not only teaching me patience and waiting on Him, but He’s also showing me how to let Him fight for me…
Psalm 27:14, Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord
Exodus 14:14, The Lord will fight for you. You have only to be silent
I can wait and be patient in Him, knowing I am being molded and refined. So, yeah, life is crazy hard right now. My patience is running thin, I want the seas to be calm and the hardest days to cease, but I wouldn’t trade this season for the world.
In my season of waiting and needing patience, the Lord is teaching me to have faith in Him, not my circumstances. To rely on His promises, not my understanding.
I know God is with me, I know He is faithful, I know He is working in my life. I know I can trust him, and so I keep walking. One step at a time, one wave at a time, hand in hand fighting life’s battles with God going before and behind me.
Have patience in whatever season of life you’re in. God is still working, wait on Him and cherish the moment He has you walking in, no matter how easy or difficult.
Love you friends. Until next time,