Summary: Patience when we wait on the Lord.
“The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.”
Patience and loving one another seem to be the two hardest things for a Christian to do. For most of us waiting on the Lord seems to be the toughest thing in our life to bear. And because we lack patience we also lack the ability love one another as Jesus commands us to. Whether we know it or not, patience and love go hand-in-hand. Because we need patience to love others and through patience we learn to love others, as well as others growing to love us. To illustrate this I would like to tell a story about Abraham Lincoln.
No one treated Lincoln with more contempt than did Edwin Stanton, who denounced Lincoln’s policies and even called him a “low cunning clown.” Stanton had nicknamed him “the original gorilla” and said that explorer Paul Du Chailu was a fool to wander about in Africa trying to capture a gorilla, when he could have found one so easily in Springfield, Illinois. Lincoln said nothing in reply. In fact, he made Stanton his war minister because Stanton was the best man for the job. Lincoln treated Stanton with every courtesy. The years went on. The night came when an assassin’s bullet struck down Lincoln in a theatre. In a room off to the side where Lincoln’s body was taken, stood Stanton that night. As he looked down on the silent, rugged face of the President, Stanton said through his tears, “There lays the greatest ruler of men the world has ever seen.” The patience of love had conquered in the end.
Through patience and love Lincoln won the love of one of his greatest enemies.
We often find that anger most times grows from and feeds from impatience. Some of the cruelest words out of our mouths come as a result of impatience.
• The things we say about that person on the road that is keeping us from getting where we need to be.
• The things we say to and about those whom we believe are taking a position at work or at church from us.
• The things we say to and about the person ahead of you in the checkout line who is not moving along as quickly as we want them to.
• The things we say when our children are not learning as fast as we want them to.
• The things we say when our children seem to ask way to many questions.
• The things we say to our loved ones when things don’t seem to moving along as quickly as we want them to.
Likewise, some of our most hurtful things toward God are exhibited by our impatience:
• When we are looking for a husband or wife and you settle on the first thing that comes along because you just cannot wait.
• When we are out of work and we take anything we can find because we just cannot wait.
• When we settle for second-best of anything because we just cannot wait.
You may be asking yourself, how could these things be hurtful to a loving God? Well, let’s look at it this way. Let’s say that a father had given his promise to his child that he would give then a new car when the time is right. But because of the child’s impatience and lack of trust in the father, he goes out and buys a used car, which has all kinds of unknown problems. This action would hurt the father’s feelings because the father wanted to give his child the best, but the child was willing to settle for less because of their lack of patience and trust. Likewise, our Father in heaven would feel the same because we wanted to settle for second-best. This is the very reason that scripture tells us that it is good for a man to both hope and wait for the Lord, so that we will always get the best.
Like I said earlier, patience is one of the hardest things for us to hold on to. And this is even truer in the times of trials and troubles. These are the times when our impatience grows and we end up doing something of our own will, instead of waiting for God to pull us through. We need to realize that God works in the midst of our troubles. The prophet Habakkuk illustrates this point in 3:17-19:
“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.”