When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him. Exodus 32:1
We become impatient when things don’t go our way or when uncertainty looms over our life like a dark cloud. We become impatient when time seems to be running out or when people don’t act as we think they should. We even become impatient waiting on God. We all wrestle with impatience from time to time. Hopefully, you are not chronically impatient. If so, there is a good chance you are discontented and even miserable. Impatience can be good if your house is on fire, but in the normal course of life, it is not the best choice.
Impatience can cause you to do things that are totally uncharacteristic of your normal behavior. You are prone to deviance if others prod you on, for impatience does not like to be alone. Its emotions are fueled by the discontent of a group. Somehow, the voice of reason suffocates in a crowded room full of discontent. Its words become garbled by intense grumbling. Even level heads become unbalanced when intoxicated by impatience.
The timing of impatience can be uncanny. God could have just provided a beautiful blessing such as childbirth, when suddenly we become impatient with meeting the needs of the totally dependent baby. We forget the joy of birth, revel in the burden of bringing up a child and complain about the inconvenience of infants. We become impatient with their cries that started out as precious. But helping anything grow takes time and a tremendous amount of patience. We can’t shirk our responsibilities as parents, wives, husbands, or friends.
Instead, be disciplined and patient to build. You can build healthy, good things before they become broken, bad things. Build your life, your business, and your family. And whatever else is worth building, build it to last. What you do while you wait determines whether you are patient or impatient.
Use this time of waiting to ratchet up your service to others. Service to others on behalf of Christ keeps you from being impatient around your own expectations. It diverts idle minds from believing Satan’s lies; you avoid playing foolish mind games when you are engaged in unselfish acts of service. Secondly, seek the Lord in worship and thanksgiving, as they facilitate patience and contentment. You can’t contemplate the goodness and greatness of your heavenly Father and not be touched with patience. Worship feeds trust, and trust is the parent of patience. The appetite you feed becomes who you are. Worship recalibrates your reasoning to reflect on the character of Christ.
Lastly, pray for those who have not met your expectations. They may be spiritual leaders who seem to be ignoring you. It may be a spouse who is in a season of self-absorption. Your boss may be demanding and unreasonable, your children uncommunicative and uncooperative. You can battle impatience with Christ’s unlimited patience.
The Bible teaches, “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:16).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me patience to not react in fear toward another but instead respond in trust to You, in Jesus’ name, amen.
Application: In what situation do I need to take a deep breath and not get out of breath with worry?
Related Readings: Psalm 37:7; Romans 12:12; 1 Corinthians 13:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:14