The P Word

“It’s a good thing we didn’t meet each other earlier than we did,” Peggy muses from time to time, “We wouldn’t have been ready for each other, and we might not have been interested.” She is right, for God steadily matures and transforms His children, using us in the moment while molding us for the future. For years, I had prayed earnestly for God to show me the woman who would live life with me, and at the ripe old age of 25, I was becoming discouraged and a little fearful. Then I began to date Peggy, and it wasn’t long before I realized she was God’s “yes” to me. He hadn’t been deaf to my prayers, rather He had been wise in His timing, for I hadn’t been even close to “ready” before then.

I’ve come to see patience as the time element of faith. Trusting God is not just a matter of believing that He can answer our prayers or even that He will; it is also a matter of relying on His perfect “when.” Confident in God’s faithfulness to speak, David also contented himself in the wisdom of His timetable: “Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.”1 To Israel’s king, patience was an integral part of faith in God, the complete submission of our timing to His: “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.”2

Patience is difficult for us, for our natural inclination is to want what we want, and to want it now. In fact, impatience can be an obstacle to hearing God. Moreover, the prospect of developing patience looms in our minds as a long, arduous trial to be endured. “Don’t pray for patience,” we quip, “or you just might get it!” But patience is not of ourselves, rather it is fruit that emerges from within as we offer ourselves to the Holy Spirit. Patience can be as immediate and restful as recognizing that God’s wisdom is infinite, His purposes are pure, and His plan for us—including its timing—far exceeds our own desires. For God will act. It will be beautiful. And it’s worth the wait.

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.—Isaiah 64:4.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.3 I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.4 Yes, Lord, may this be so.

1 Psalm 38:15
2 Psalm 130:5, emphasis added
3 Psalm 5:3
4 Micah 7:7

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