Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.
I’m the king of impatience.
While I was growing up, my parents and grandparents often said to me, “That money is burning a hole in your pocket.” They were right. What little money I received as allowance, I quickly spent. Interestingly, my wants usually occurred near my birthday or Christmas. I was cautioned about buying things so close to those special days. “Wait and see if you get it for Christmas or your birthday,” my parents or grandparents said. I rarely waited. As I proudly displayed my new purchase, I often heard them sigh. They would have to think of something else to give me or take back what they had already purchased.
God promised Abraham a son through whom millions of descendants would come. Twenty-five years passed between God’s initial promise and the son’s actual birth. Abraham’s patience was interrupted by his wife’s impatience. She suggested they hurry God along. She gave her servant in marriage to Abraham as a surrogate mother. God wasn’t pleased, but He still kept His promise.
People have advised me not to pray for patience because I probably won’t like the methods God uses to develop it in me. Nowadays, I rarely pray for it, but I’ve discovered God uses the methods my advisers referenced anyway. God manufactures patience in me through life experiences that teach me to wait even though the money in my pocket still burns my leg.
Although I don’t always appreciate the methods God uses to test and develop my patience, the fact that I allow Him to use them demonstrates my trust level. His methods are varied, sometimes illogical, and may seem unending, but He sees end results I can’t see. Through His mercy-driven tests, I learn to take things in stride without getting angry, upset, or running ahead of Him. And to top it off, He produces spiritual growth and maturity so I can be a spiritual guide to those who follow in my footsteps.
How are you responding to God’s efforts to produce patience in your life?
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by Martin Wiles
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Martin Wiles is a minister, author, and freelance editor currently living in Greenwood, SC, and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is the author of six books, including his two latest, Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He has been published in a number of periodicals, books, and newspapers. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.