Rembrandt, one of my favorite artists
Abraham sacrificing Isaac
We choose to be patient, even when we feel like getting our own way.
In a culture that has fast food, speed of lightening responses on computer, instant gratification, the value of patience has become lost. Yet, patience is a virtue that will cause us to grow spiritually like no other. Patience in having our prayers answered forces us to look to God, to humble ourselves before Him, to acknowledge our dependence on him. Yet, how often we hurry the process of His answers and diminish our own ability to grow.
Abraham did not wait on God long enough and his hasty actions to “help” God answer his promise resulted in Hagar, his wife’s maid, having Ishmael. The line of Ishmael lived in conflict with the Jewish people through all of history. When we take things into our own hands, we create havoc of every sort.
We read in Isaiah, “Yet those who wait on the Lord will gain new strength, ” Is. 40: 31
God has wisdom and He has plan. His ways are to build spiritual muscle slowly because His focus in on building character and the likeness of Christ in our lives. Holiness does not come from a quick fix.
The raging battle against righteousness is also an issue of why we must learn to be patient. Satan prowls the earth to see whom he may devour. The earth is in rebellion to God. If we are to resist evil and overcome it with good, we must learn the secret value of waiting patiently in the midst of life storms. Darkness is but for the night, but joy comes in the morning, we read in the psalms.
And so, all of life in a fallen world will require us to be patient, to rule over our impatient spirits, to rule our spirit. We do not walk by emotions, or desires, but we learn to walk in obedience to the path God has given. Then, His reward will be sure and generous.
Many times, as a mom, I felt that my mother-labor was in vain. The constancy of correcting, teaching, serving children who pushed against me, questioned me, seemed unconcerned. Yet, now, after all of these years, I am so grateful that God helped me to live for the ideals He had given me one day at a time. The heart satisfaction of seeing my children walk with God, pursue His kingdom purposes, is deep and peaceful. Yet, it was a long walk of faith, faithfulness and waiting.
And so, as adults, we see the value of training and teaching our children to put off self-gratification. Gently helping them to choose patience, to will to be strong, to wait on God, is to prepare them to understand how to live their lives for God and not for themselves. Marriage requires patience. Work requires patience. All relationships require patience. And yet exercising patience builds strong internal spiritual muscle over time.
When seeds are planted, patience is required to see them grow and bloom to full fruition. Yet the fruit brings great reward.
“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”
Proverbs 16: 32
Ruling over ones spirit is such an amazing concept. To take charge, to subdue, to control one’s spirit is the foundation for all sorts of spiritual prowess. When you help your child to learn to control his spirit and to rule over his emotions, you are giving him a gift that will serve him the rest of his life. Since I had never been trained, I had to learn it along with my little ones, yet now, it has served me better than I could have imagined.
Patience is wrought in our children little by little. Not by lecturing them only, but by guiding them in attitudes, in habits, to practice patience in order to become strong inside. Yet, patience brings great strength and great reward to those who submit to the wait. And the humility of not always getting ones own way immediately builds spiritual prowess like no other. When a child learns to wait on his mama and on circumstances, he is practicing learning to wait on God–and that is just the person God uses–the one who looks to God and waits expectantly on Him.
Just remember today, the Lord is with you and loves you and He will show you His ways as you patiently wait for Him.