Patience by Kelly Moyer It's no secret to anyone who knows me well that I am a planner, list maker, and all around impatient woman. Imagine your definition of “type A” and I am it. I have always orchestrated my daily activities through a planner, and as of recently, through my phone calendar, which just makes feeding my obsessive tendencies even easier (and more dangerous). Sitting at my desk at home, I currently have three "to do" lists (color coordinated), a shopping list, and this does not include the two lists I keep on Google Docs. Yes, you are free to laugh you’re your eyes pitifully at me or shout an agreeable “amen, sister!”
It comes as no surprise, then, that the toughest thing for me as a Christ-follower is giving up the control concerning the events and circumstances in my life. In my heart I believe what God's Word says: that His ways are higher than mine (Isaiah 55:9), that He goes before me and acts as my rearguard (Isaiah 52:12), that He holds my right hand and guides me (Isaiah 41:13)... but my head cannot overcome the desire to rely on my lists and my plans.
If you haven’t guessed yet, Isaiah is my favorite book of the Bible. It is full of the greatest promises God makes to His people of Israel even in the midst of their unfaithfulness. For 39 chapters the prophet Isaiah brings Israel to trial, proclaiming their failures to behave and believe in the way intended for God’s Chosen People and pleading with them to assume their responsibilities as God’s people and become a part of the faithful “remnant.”
But then, when all hope appears to be lost in Israel’s stubbornness, Isaiah brings a new message of grace and comfort, announcing the faithfulness of God despite the unfaithfulness of Israel. There will be a time of trial for Israel, trial that us modern readers can’t quite understand, but for those that remain steadfast in God’s love, there will be abundant life both before and after the trial. Isaiah 40:31 says,
“For those who wait on the Lord will find new strength; they will fly high on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”
Are you at a point in your life that you feel you have little strength left? Little energy? Little patience for God’s plan? Have you ever prayed, “Um, God… what the heck?!” or “Hey, hurry up, Big Guy!” I certainly have, and so did Israel at the time of Isaiah’s ministry. They felt abandoned, confused, and anxious. But what they didn’t know, and what we still fail to recognize, is the nature of God’s unending work in the life of Israel and in our lives today. It is a process towards unimaginable progress, usually exponentially greater than what we had hoped for in our time of failing strength and deteriorating patience!
Part of our great privilege in being Christ-followers is our knowledge of the depth of God’s love and faithfulness to those that chose to follow Him and our share in the gifts of the Spirit (check them out in Galatians 5:22-23). One of those gifts is patience. As Christ dwells in us, so too does the ability and power for patience live within us. The hard part? We have to choose it! We must choose to act with patience… on the freeway, with our spouses, in the workplace, with our children, with our in-laws, and most of all, with God. It’s pretty easy to see that this is not the norm of the world and this choice to seize our power for patience will make us very
strange people! But like the “remnant” of Israel that remained faithful to God’s Word and patient with God’s plan in the midst of a disobedient and demanding people, we will experience God’s faithfulness and beauty in a far greater way than we could have imagined and, most importantly, succeed in bringing Him glory in our world.
Today, regardless of the magnitude of your anxiety, frustration, or fears, choose patience. Choose to be strange in the way you trust God and treat others around you. Choose to trust God’s plan and God’s timing for your life. The power lies within you through Christ—choose to act on it!