I’ve heard you should be careful about praying for patience, because if you do, God will make you wait for something.

I hadn’t been praying for patience, but that didn’t change the fact that I found myself waiting for a package this past week. I’d ordered it with 2 day shipping, but almost a week later, it still hadn’t arrived. I’ll admit, it’s a silly thing to get upset about. It wasn’t emergency supplies or anything. And soon, my wonderful wife pointed this fact out to me. “Getting upset doesn’t get it her faster,” she said.

That’s when I had to sit, calm down, and remind myself to be patient. And the more I think of that impatience, the more I’ve seen two lessons to learn.

  1. Impatience comes from things outside our control. If everything was under our control, we’d never have to be patient. We could just have what we wanted now. Instead, there are a multitude of things we can never change and that we have to wait on.  Some of them are packages in the mail, but more often it’s waiting on God for something, from a relationship issue, to an answer to a prayer related to our health. The lesson to learn? When things seem out of our control, it’s time to wait on God.
  2. Patience is the antithesis to our selfish desires. We get impatient because of what we want.  I wanted my package to arrive when I wanted it, not 4 days later. So I got impatient and upset.  I wasn’t concerned about anyone else; I just wanted to what I thought I deserved.  I wasn’t thoughtful of the guy driving a delivery truck that may have broken down. Or my poor wife that had to listen to me complain about it every day.  The lesson? When God makes us wait for something, it can be an opportunity to analyze our motives for why we’re waiting for it and make sure we’re pursuing what God wants for us.

Of course, the hardest part about learning patience is the learning it part. You can’t gain patience through anything other than experience. But when we’re tested and stretched and forced to wait, we can either get frustrated and make things miserable for ourselves (and those around us) or we can see it as what it is: a chance to learn something from God.

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