Open Your Bible
Isaiah 30:18-26, Ecclesiastes 7:8-9, 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15, James 5:7, 2 Peter 3:1-13
My youngest daughter turns three next month. She is at the delightfully frustrating age where she wants to do far more than she is physically or emotionally able to do, and usually, that means I spend a lot of time waiting for her to “do it all by my OWN!” (Her adorable way of saying “myself.”)
We love to go on walks as a family in the evenings. My eldest flies down the sidewalk on her bike with training wheels, but my youngest isn’t very speedy. Nor does she try particularly hard to go fast on her scooter or her balance bike. More often that not, my husband and I trade off for the very arduous, slow task of pushing her, drenched with summer sweat, watching the other spouse laughing and jogging in the distance. No manner of coaxing, teaching, encouraging, or letting her go on hills will motivate her to do it herself. So a few weeks ago, I bought her a tricycle. I thought, Surely this will solve our nightly struggle! But dear reader, it did not. Now we just take turns pushing her princess-adorned tricycle up and down the hill.
There is no fast track for learning to ride a bike, but boy, has it ever tested my patience almost every night this past summer, along with nearly everything else about this almost-comically-catastrophic year. My patience ran out on day two of quarantine, and that was over eight months ago. Have we ever, collectively, felt so impatient, so restless, so tired of non-progress? I’m impatient for the past and the future at the same time. I reason, If we can’t go back to where we were, maybe we could at least hurry up and get to where we’re going!
This, my friends, is the same tension we feel spiritually. Our impatience for all things to be made new through the restoring, perfecting power of Jesus lingers every day. We long for it to be here soon—Maranatha! Come, Lord! The prophet describes this very longing, set in the hearts of all who believe (Isaiah 30:18–26). And yet, there is a difference between patience from the Spirit (waiting for God’s kingdom to reign forever!) and sinful impatience.
Sinful impatience says, “I know what’s right and exactly what I need, and I’m mad I’m not getting it right now.” Patience says, “I trust the Lord and His promises.” Scripture leads us to the same conclusion: a proud spirit is bound up in impatience (Ecclesiastes 7:8). Patience is grown from trust in the Lord and His timing, convinced He knows what we really need, in every realm and facet of our lives.
I believe my daughter will learn to ride a bike. I believe Jesus will return. There are a lot of things I believe I need or want to be happy, but ultimately, my attitude is more often than not one of prideful impatience. It’s impatience born out of my desire to be in control. What the Holy Spirit provides through ongoing sanctification is true patience. I trust Him with my eternity; I need to better trust Him with each day.