Children are notoriously impatient—antsy is more like it. Mine were forced to hold my hand, stand in line at the hardware store, and forced to go "shopping" with mom.
The waiting game inevitably broke them down emotionally—it's called a meltdown. We had the "sit, flop, and fume" to the "slap-the-toy out of your hand you are dangling in my face" to the "pouting Pearl Harbor" complete with explosions of anger and tears. On long drives to my parents' house every Christmas. they all asked, "Are we there yet?"
Men are just bigger versions of our "mini-me's" with bigger needs and bigger destinations, but the same impatience—especially with God who, like our parents, does not wear our watch.
We are trained by an "easy button" culture to believe that both private and public delays are the enemy. We are trained to lust after the product not endure the process. We work hard to ensure faster, smoother and easier exactly to avoid slower, more difficult and harder. Then life happens. Delays happen that we didn't plan. Denials happen that we never expected.
We don't "flop and fume," but the negative emotions connected to waiting can destroy us from the inside out and, in the process, lead to some slippery slopes. We try to speed things up. We say and do things impulsively. We take wrong risks. We take control of the process, and that decision backfires.
Most men think the waiting game is for losers or the incompetent. The fact is that we all must play it, whether we like it or not, regardless of what we are waiting for. Every man will have moments and seasons when progress has been halted and patience is demanded.
The Bible has a lot to say about why we need patience. It's a reflection of wisdom (Prov. 19:11), it's better than pride (Eccl. 7:8), it shows great understanding (Prov. 14:29), it calms a quarrel (Prov. 15:18), it's loving (1 Cor. 13:4), and we're commanded to be patient (James 5:7-8, I Thess. 5:14, Eph. 4:2 and Zeph. 3:8).
But the real trick is actually doing it. Being patient with the process takes practice. It's like exercise that needs to be done daily. So for those patience-challenged men, try taking a W-A-L-K with God the next time you find yourself needing to wait, and jot down your thoughts in a journal using the following outline.
W - atch God's movements. In John 3, Jesus used "wind" to explain God's spirit, which is constantly moving. Although you can't see the wind, you can see the effects of the wind, just like with God's Spirit. In Gen. 8:1, Noah had to play the waiting game, and God sent wind. Being patient doesn't mean sitting idle. It's an opportunity to observe God's movements. You will find that God is not idle either. He's working, often behind-the-scenes on our behalf.
A - cknowledge God's sovereignty. "Sovereignty" means possessing supreme or ultimate power and authority. God is the Almighty One, Creator of the universe, Author of life and Savior of our souls. He's good, really good. And His plans generally work out with perfect timing (wink). Waiting for God means acknowledging His sovereignty. He is worthy of our praise and adoration. Often, we need to chill and "Be still, and know that I am God" as written in Psalm 46:10.
L - isten to His voice. Through regular meetings with God, you will refine an ability to listen to His voice, His Spirit. He wrote the Bible for us to connect and listen to Him. He sent His Son Jesus to deliver the message of hope. He taught us how to pray. He created us for a relationship, which requires communication. So, while waiting for God, ramp up your time with God, seek Him by reading the Bible, engage Him with your questions, and take time to listen.
K - indle an expectancy with faith. Waiting for God is largely a test of faith. But the more we watch Him, acknowledge Him and listen to Him, the better able we are to expect great things in good time. In Rom. 8:18-20, we read "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed."
Finally, remember that God is patient with us too. We're a work in progress, and that takes time.
- "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9).
See more verses about patience below:
- "We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised" (Heb. 6:12).
- "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes" (Psalm 37:7).
- "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry" (Psalm 40:1).
- "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord" (Psalm 27:14).
Kenny Luck, founder of Every Man Ministries, men's pastor at Saddleback Church, and ChristianMingle advisory board member, provides biblically oriented teaching and leadership for men and pastors seeking relevant, timely material that battle cultural, worldly concepts threatening men and God's men. Follow Kenny and Every Man Ministries now on Facebook, Twitter (@everyMM) and YouTube.
For the original article, visit everymanministries.com.
Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.
Dare to go deeper in your faith. Our "Life in the Spirit" devotional takes you on a journey to explore who the Holy Spirit is, how to interact with Him, and how He works in your life. Are you ready to go deeper?