Raise your hand if you often have a problem being patient.
(Come on. Hurry up! I’m waiting!)
There, I knew I was in good company.
Whenever I hear someone talking about patience (this includes me), they don’t usually mention that they weren’t patient. The story merely includes how long they had to wait. We usually mention how a person or a process was going too slowly.
Why do we never tell stories of when we made someone wait for us?
The rewards of being patient elude us when we’re “in the moment.” Most of us have the kind of life in which we need to always be on the move.
Just last week I was giving a friend of mine a ride home. Our fastest route would have taken us down a street where there are railroad tracks. Trains go by this intersection several times a day. On this day, at this particular time it was no exception. Did I take that route?
No. I turned right instead of left and went out of my way to avoid the tracks and waiting behind a long line of cars. Then I justified the action. I told my friend, “I figure if I have to burn gas I may as well be burning it in motion rather than sitting still.”
These are a few reasons why patience wins.
Hope is a by-product of patience. Hanging on to the idea that God’s will eventually plays out keeps us from worrying about the outcome. Hope does not disappoint us. (Romans 5:5)
Practicing patience takes the focus off ourselves. When we’re honest about our lack of patience, we often find our reasons are based on our own desires or needs. When we focus on others–whether we know their needs or not–it can help us to be patient, understanding and sympathetic.
Patience sets a good example to others. As much as we might ignore (or justify) our own lack of patience, others notice. We have no control over how others actually respond to us, but we do have control over whether we handle a situation with calmness or fretting.
Patience perfects character. Character is often revealed through a trial, be it great or small. But waiting patiently can also “have its perfect work” in our lives (James 1:4). The more we practice patience, the better we become at practicing patience. We find we can better endure the various trials we face.
Even if the so-called trial is as simple as waiting for a necessary train to pass by.