Playing the Waiting Game
by Rob Shiflet
Bible Reading: Ephesians 4:1-2
Accept life with humility and patience, generously making allowances for each other because you love each other. Ephesians 4:2, Phillips
THE LITTLE TYKE shuffled to his bed, his pajama-clad feet making only the slightest noise on the hardwood floor. He knelt beside the bed and closed his eyes tight, his fingers squeezed together in a tight clasp.
“Dear God,” the youngster said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get in trouble.” He paused. “Mommy says I need patience. She says I need to ask you to help me. So God, please give me patience so I won’t pester Mommy so much.”
The boy paused again. Then he opened his eyes and looked upward, as if he were looking at the ceiling. “Well, God,” he said, “I’m waiting!”
It can be hard to be patient. It doesn’t come naturally, does it? After all, that’s why we have fast food; instant coffee; express lanes; rapid tax returns; quick-drying paint, nail polish, and correction fluid; “speedy” printing; overnight delivery services; “Zip” Drives; and Jiffy Lubes. We hate to wait. And sometimes our impatience annoys other people and gets us in trouble. Like when you try to move a big school project before the glue dries. Or when you cut in front of someone in line. Or when you yell at your best friend and hurt his or her feelings because you wanted to be first in line when tickets to the Counting Cannibals concert went on sale, and because your friend just had to have an emergency appendectomy, you ended up fourth in line!
But no matter how hard it is, no matter how few people seem to have it, patience is a virtue. It’s a good thing to have. In fact, it’s necessary if you want to do right and please God, because a person who is patient reflects the image of God, who is “slow to anger” (Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18; Psalm 86:15) and “patient with you” (2 Peter 3:9, NIV).
God also tells us to “Be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). So what are you waiting for? Start being patient. And do it right now!
REFLECT: When are you most patient? When are you most impatient? Do you need more patience? How can you develop more patience? Remember that patience is a virtue and a fruit of the Holy Spirit. If you have experienced salvation through Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit lives in you, and patience will show in your life as you let the Spirit control you day by day.
PRAY: “God, help me to accept life with humility and patience. Help me to patiently make allowances for others because of your love for them and my love for them, especially for_________.”