The Wisdom of Patience
Have you ever had one of those weeks when everything that could go wrong goes wrong? To cap it off, while you’re telling a friend (or actually whining) about how bad your week has been, they smile and say something like “don’t worry, it’s bound to get better soon.” For some reason that only makes it worse. What’s really needed is something to take the sting out of it while it’s happening. The Bible gives us just that in this passage from James:
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:2-3; NKJV)
This is certainly easier said than done. When life seems like you’re driving 50 mph down a road with speed bumps every hundred feet, you generally don’t feel very joyful. But this verse doesn’t say the trials give us joy, it says to “count it all joy.” It is telling us to take the initiative to decide to welcome our trials. Then it tells us why, which is, those trials are giving us an opportunity to grow. We will never grow in our Christian walk without going through adversity. When things start to go wrong, and we respond by praying and seeking God’s guidance, our relationship with Him gets stronger. Those problems are testing your faith. Are you going to pray more and trust His guidance? Are you going to seek His will and wait for an answer? If your answer to those questions is yes, your faith will increase; and so will your patience.
The next verse says, “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:4) Waiting for God’s answers to our problems can often seem like an impossible task. But God is not late in giving us answers. He’s not making us suffer needlessly. His timing is perfect although it doesn’t always match our timing. It is in this struggle of praying and waiting that our patience and faith are increased. What makes us complete is having faith He is truly in control, and having the patience to wait for His answers.
There was a time in my life when things were getting particularly rough. I had read these verses and thought “At this point I don’t care too much about patience, I just want this mess to stop.” That's when the Lord showed me the meaning of the next verse: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5) I never thought that verse had anything to do with the one before it. The last one was about patience, and this one is about wisdom. What the Lord impressed on me was if I didn’t want to work on patience, it was because I lacked wisdom. It is wise to seek growth in faith and patience. These can only come through trials. Having patience takes faith. Seeking patience takes wisdom. Today’s trials are your chance to grow in all three areas. Instead of praying for your trials to end, pray that they serve to increase your faith, patience, and wisdom. The Lord will take care of the rest.
Have a great week and God bless.