So many of my friends often say, 'don't ask God for patience because all you will get are red lights and long lines.
For myself, patience is something I don't feel that I really struggle with, but I, like the rest of us, can certainly get frustrated from time to time, especially when I project my expectations onto God's timeline of when things should happen.
Raising 4 children with my wonderful wife, I can certainly see the need for patience, not just with them, but with me in my patience for them. However, at times when I feel my patience wearing thin, I am often reminded that my heavenly Father shows me unending patience.
As the Psalmist states "But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness (86:15)".
It was pointed out to me, not too long ago, by my lovely wife, that our family of six had not travelled together in the same car for close to ten months; ever since our youngest had been born.
Having outgrown the five seater car, anytime we travelled as a family I would have to take my scooter, which although frustrating, had not spurred me to do anything about it.
So, we finally decided to upgrade to a bigger car, and gave it totally over to God, trusting in him to see us through from the finance to the final handshake.
All up, the whole deal took about one week and although there were times when we wanted to ring the dealer and see how things were going, we would remind ourselves that if it was God's will it would happen.
"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven" Ecc 3:1
Saturday evening, 5 days after we had started the process, the dealer rang and confirmed that everything was right to go, and that we could finalise the paperwork on Monday.
Praise Be To God!
We were so thankful and apologetic to God, thankful for giving us the car, or plane as it feels, and apologetic for not trusting in his good and perfect timing.
I feel that God has used this experience to teach me about patience and it's this lesson I want to share with you. Our Lord has reminded me to ask, and then to trust and to be encouraged.
Asking God for what was needed, in this instance a car; we took that request to the Lord in prayer; we told him we needed a bigger car, we needed finance and we needed his patience.
If we ask anything of God, in accordance to his will, God will answer our prayers. "Now this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us" 1 John 5:14.
In asking God for the car, I found I must also trust that he is able to give it to me. "And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive" Matt 21:22.
When we trust in God, and in the assurances he has given to us we are glorifying God; bringing him praise and honour for all the things he does.
"Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will isâ€"his good, pleasing and perfect will" Rom 12:2.
We need to remember that God loves to bless us.
We have to believe and trust this to be true and praise him every day for loving us so.
Finally, be encouraged in your patience.
I read the word of God to see the promises he gives to those who walk with him.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Rom 8:28.
Staying encouraged can certainly prove to be difficult to achieve, depending on how long we wait for God to answer our prayers.
When I start to become discouraged, I remind myself that God does not conform to my 'worldly' timeline, and that all things will work to his good and perfect timing, not mine.
So I stay encouraged in God, and encouraged in knowing that he will answer my prayers. I give glory to him and continue to strive to 'lean not on my own understanding'; learning from the Israelites who wandered in the desert for 40years because of their grumbling and distrust, that we should allow God to take control of the entire situation.
So in my waiting, I give praise and glory to God and encouraged my spirit to wait on the Lord and his timing.
As I said from the outset, patience is certainly not a fruit we normally tend to want to be tried in, but as Isaiah 40:31 teaches, God blesses those that wait upon him.
So ask God what you want in his name, in accordance to his will; trust that he is faithful to you and will answer your prayer if it is in accordance to his will, and be encouraged in joy and grace and by giving God the praise and glory for the answers that he will give to you, in his time.
After all, our God is an awesome God, who knows the number of hairs on our head and our name before we are even formed in the womb, if anyone knows the right time, it's him!