Patience. It’s a tough word to swallow. Christians everywhere jokingly warn each other, “Don’t pray for patience! You’ll get it!” And we’ve all heard the joke,” I prayed for patience but I’m just not getting it fast enough!”
Funny or not, it’s true that we are all impatient by nature. I'm learning this more and more as I delve further into my writing career. An author’s world is seemingly controlled by that single little word "wait". We write and wait. Submit and wait. Receive word and wait. Resubmit and wait. We wait for edits, cover art, ISBN numbers, first releases, etc. It’s a process that just takes time, and though it is by far worth every moment spent; sometimes having patience is just plain hard.
It’s been said that we live in a microwave generation. In this day and age, we obtain things now faster than ever before, and yet it’s still not good enough, not fast enough for our speedy preferences. Nuked popcorn still takes too long to pop. Full dinners in a skillet take too long to heat. Our fast food bags don’t pop out the drive-through window quickly enough for our taste. We get married and expect to have the same things our parents have after twenty-five years of marriage! A new car, a nice house, extra spending money. These things all take time to acquire, yet our hurried, frantic minds can’t grasp the concept. We don’t want to be patient. We want things now.
I’d like to think that I'm a decently patient person. I get anxious about things, of course, but overall, I understand that "good things come to those who wait" and that usually, the end result is well worth the time spent. Yet knowing this and applying it to my life and career sometimes takes on a different perspective!
Why is patience so hard for us? Why do we want what we want, right when we want it? Why can’t we be content to sit back and trust the Lord’s timing over our own anxiety and urgency?
I believe it all goes back to control. Having patience means surrendering control of our lives to Jesus, the ultimate Timekeeper. It means saying “I’ll wait for You, Lord, because I trust You.” And that’s hard to do. It’s difficult not knowing what will happen. We live in a world that operates by plans, lists, details, and organization. How can we plan or make a list or organize if we don’t know what’s coming? If we don’t know what to expect?
It’s simple: we can’t. That’s where trust comes in. And you can’t have trust without first surrendering control.
Your palms might be growing sweaty right at the mere thought. Let go? Let Jesus truly take full control of my life? But what if His plans don’t match up with mine? What if He doesn’t want the same things for me that I’ve desired my entire life? How can I trust that? How can I know He won’t lead me astray?
Good questions. And I realized something recently while thinking about this dreaded little word "wait". A vivid image popped into my mind that I’d like to share with you.
Have you ever been blindfolded? I played games like this at youth camp. Silly exercises on the surface, but deep down, they taught us as teenagers how to build trust and become better teammates. Our group leader would tie a thick bandanna around my eyes and I would be guided by an un-blindfolded partner through an obstacle course. The entire point was to learn to trust my teammate's voice and instructions. If he said "go right", I moved to the right. If he said “step up”, I’d step up and over the object in front of me. I’d take baby steps or giant steps according to his commands. I’d back up, scoot over, crawl, etc. I did whatever it took to get through the obstacle without seeing. I literally had to blindly trust my partner, who saw the whole picture.
It's a lot like that in our spiritual lives. We, as Christians, are blindfolded. We can't see the entire picture. Our view is limited, and we're stumbling around, confused as to which direction we should go. And unfortunately, more often than not, we tend to ignore the voice of our Lord instructing us to safety. To success. To fulfillment.
How will we ever know where to go, or worse yet, where not to go, if we don't listen to Him? We'll never cross the finish line by stubbornly insisting we can manage on our own. God sees the entire path before us. He knows what's coming, what has been, what is, and still has a plan for each one of us. As Christians, we have to trust that. Whether that means waiting, walking, crawling, taking baby steps, running, etc.
Are you listening to the voice of our Savior today? I am. I'm going to keep waiting and keep trusting. And when I hear that still small voice instructing me to walk, I'll do so boldly and with confidence that I am on the right path.
It will be worth the wait.
Betsy St. Amant resides in northern Louisiana with her husband, Brandon. They recently celebrated their two-year wedding anniversary. Betsy has an associate's degree in Christian Communications from Louisiana Baptist University and is actively pursuing a career in inspirational writing. You can contact her at [email protected].
Original publication date: January 26, 2007