The Cost of My Impatience

    Maybe you have heard it said, “Do not pray for patience!” I have heard this maxim repeated many times in my life. The admonition is rooted in the understanding that becoming patient is almost always the result of trials. Maybe we should look at growing in patience from another perspective, “the cost of my impatience!”

     If we are not careful, our proclivity to avoid difficulty robs us of one of the greatest blessings, patience. The Bible reminds us of the blessing of the Lord’s patience toward us. “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4) God’s patience with us is the open door to a relationship with our Creator. The Apostle Peter reminds us that this is a good thing as well, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

     Patience is not only a character quality of our Lord, but is also a necessary character quality for His disciples. It is a mark of God’s working in us. It is actually the fruit of a Godly life. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22–23) I am sure that these qualities are listed in order, but patience does make it number four. One of several reasons that Jesus’ followers should pray for patience and embrace the difficulties of life that produce patience, is that it helps us become more like Jesus.

     I recently was reading in Exodus and was struck by the cost of disobedience. We read, “When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”” (Exodus 32:1) I want you to focus on the “delayed.”   Did you find it in the verse. It is speaking of God keeping Moses on the mountain longer than expected. Now, if anyone trumps our schedule it is the Lord. But like most of us, that need to grow in patience, delays, are a problem. Think about how many times delay reveals that not so good side of your character. Actually, delays are great at revealing our true character, our impatience.

     It is in our account that we begin to glimpse of the cost of impatience. It was tragic in this situation. The delay resulted in the people improvising for God. The results were tragic. The Nation’s relationship with God was broken and threatened. The cost of impatience has compromised God’s blessing, brought down Kings, and destroyed lives. There also seems to be a correlation between impatience following a great working of God. Remember all that the Lord had done through God’s humiliation of Pharaoh, to the crossing of the Red Sea, to the deliverance from and destruction of one of the most powerful armies in the world, to the provision of manna. Yet, when Moses was “delayed” they created the “golden calf” to replace God. I am afraid that our impatience often produces those same results.

     The Godly man, King David, reminds us, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;” (Psalm 37:7a)

 -Pastor Joe Parkinson

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