By Noah Barfield
“12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12 (ESV)
Think back to Christmas day or your birthday when you were a child. The excitement was always un-real. You couldn’t wait to get to where all your gifts were stored and tear into them. The elation that finally enough time had passed, and you could receive what was waiting for you. The truth though, is that if you hadn’t have had to wait for them, the experience of receiving them would not have been so sweet.
There is something about waiting and working toward something that builds in us a greater joy and reaction than merely getting everything ASAP (as soon as possible). I mean just look at the world around you, do people seem as joyful, as satisfied, and as impacted when things happen instantly as they do when there is waiting and build up? We live in a world where we can pretty much get instant anything. We can go online and within a few seconds have information on any known topic. We can pop some food in the microwave and within 3 to 5 minutes have a meal. Travel between cities used to take days, now we can do it in minutes. We can get on social media and instantly receive gratification through “likes.” But what does it all really do for us? We can become “connected” faster than any time in history, but we aren’t going deeper. We have all knowledge at our finger tips, but we aren’t learning anything.
John Eldridge stated it well when he said that:
“The modern era has brought up immense conveniences but at what price. The human heart is desperate for something more than a quicker serving of popcorn.” -John Eldridge
We have gotten into a pattern where when things don’t happen instantly, we panic and think something is wrong. We need to get back to living in the process and not the beginning or end. God has places that He wants to lead you to and works that He wants to do through you. But often our hearts are not ready. Either we are too stubborn to move to where He wants us to go or we are afraid to let go of things we are holding onto.
We must come to a place where we let God mold and lead our hearts before we can move into where He has called us. And sometimes that molding process is not comfortable, but it is absolutely necessary. He brings us through testing and trials to bring our focus back to Him and shake off the things we are holding onto; To show us that what He has for us is far greater that what we were clinging to. Even though the things He must lead us through are sometimes uncomfortable and hard, we must have patience in them and remain steadfast in our faith so that His work in us may be complete.
As the apostle James states:
“2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 (ESV)
James is telling us that we should be joyful in the process because of what God is doing to us through it! Even though the trials are hard it is for our benefit. Notice the line, “that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
But in reality, we have a hard-enough time being patient in the trials, let alone joyful! The fact of the matter is that a lack of patience shows a lack of faith and trust in God’s will and timing; And God knows that we need these things (faith and trust in Him) in our hearts far more than we need for the actual events we are waiting for to happen. So, He makes us take our time, maybe even sending us on some detours, in getting to where He would have us go so that our hearts and character may be molded into the way they need to be; In order that we may fully receive what He has for us when we get there. He uses the Holy Spirit to teach us patience so that we may bare fruit for His kingdom when we step into where and what He has called us to.
So as you go about your week, remember to be patient and trust that God is guiding you through all things and allow Him to bring about His complete work in you through His Spirit, so that you may bring glory and honor to His name through the work that He has done in you.
Be patient with all people as He is patient with you. Have faith and remain steadfast!