Toddlers aren’t exactly the most patient human beings. Some are probably more patient than others, but overall patience isn’t typically a trait used to describe an average 3-year-old. My daughter has been in the habit lately of asking demanding repeatedly her request until she gets what she wants.
She will ask for some water – she will watch me as I grab a cup out of the cupboard and fill it with water – the whole time asking over and over again for some water. It’s as if she’s worried I will somehow forget what I’m doing in the middle of getting it for her and she won’t get her water. (Please tell me I’m not the only mother with a toddler like this!)
Most of us don’t enjoy being patient. Quite honestly, it’s no fun having to wait for things. As adults we may not outwardly whine as much as a 3-year-old trying to get her way, but we often feel it on the inside. We know what we want, and we want it now.
Merriam-Webster has some interesting definitions for the word patient:
- bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
- manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
- not hasty or impetuous
- steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity
- able or willing to bear
While reading these definitions, certain phrases stick out to me. True patience is calm. It doesn’t complain. It isn’t controlled by our emotions. And it is not only able, but willing to endure in all circumstances. Have I mentioned that patience is hard?
In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. – 2 Corinthians 6:4 (NLT)
This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus. – Revelation 14:12 (NLT)
God calls His people to patiently endure trials, temptations, and hardships of every kind.
Why? Because He wants the best for us. He desires that we grow in character and learn to lean on Him. He desires to be with us in eternity.
Asking us to patiently endure life’s trials may seem like an impossible task. It’s definitely something I struggle with on a daily basis. But God doesn’t leave us empty handed.
- God has given us each other. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. As we live out our faith, we can rely on one another for strength, guidance, and prayer.
Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. – 2 Corinthians 1:6 (NLT)
- God has given us His Word. The Bible reveals God’s ultimate plan for salvation and redemption. As we patiently endure, it gives us hope and encouragement that the world simply cannot offer.
…And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. – Romans 15:4 (NLT)
- We have the Holy Spirit. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He made a promise to send a “helper.” As believers, we have God’s Holy Spirit living inside of us. He convicts us, equips us, encourages us, guides us, and gives us the strength we need to patiently endure the trials of this world.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control… – Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
As a Christian, it’s hard not to behave like my toddlers. I struggle with patience. I whine and complain to God when things aren’t going as planned, but He is teaching me how to wait on Him. He is teaching me to trust that He is moving in my life, even when I want to remind Him of my needs repeatedly the way my 3-year-old does.
Even when I’m being impatient with Him, God is always faithful to be patient with me.