“Lord, please, make me to be a patient person! But do so quickly!” I have heard people jokingly quoting this kind of prayer. There is a contradiction in this petition. On the one hand this individual wants to learn patience from God. On the other hand he or she shows himself or herself being impatient, saying: “Lord, do so quickly!”
How can we learn patience? It seems to me the best way to learn patience is to exercise patience. Learning patience has much to do with waiting patiently.
As I read the bible, I gather that God is promising many blessings to them who would trust him. On the other hand the bible speaks of difficulties and problems that we would have in this world.
Mankind as a whole has departed from God and his design for living. Being faithful to God therefore often implies acting, behaving and thinking differently from most others around us. This may cause friction or even downright persecution.
God is granting New Testament believers assurance of forgiveness of sins and his Holy Spirit. As we turn to Jesus and give our lives to him we receive a newness of life. Yet in this world we still are surrounded by results of disobedience towards God.
God is granting the believer a new heart and a new spirit (cf. Ezekiel 36:26).Yet he still has to live in a world where sin and evil have its place.
Jesus told his disciples: “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33/KJV). In Romans chapter 8 St. Paul said: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Verse 35/KJV).
Earlier in the same chapter Paul expressed great confidence. In verse 28 he said: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
God has good and great purposes for those who believe him. Yet whereas we can experience many blessings in our lives, faith implies patiently waiting for the fullness of God’s promise to come.
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman, waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. … Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (James 5:7-8, 10-11/KJV).
We learn patience by enduring and remaining steadfast while being confronted with happenings that are contrary to our best expectations and hopes. God is giving them who trust him good reason to be hopeful. That makes the school of patience considerably easier and happier!