“I believe that a trusting attitude and a patient attitude go hand in hand. You see, when you let go and learn to trust God, it releases joy in your life. And when you trust God, you’re able to be more patient. Patience is not just about waiting for something… it’s about how you wait, or your attitude while waiting.”
Wow, this quote hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ll be honest, being patient is something I have never been good at. I have been struggling a lot with this lately, and I’m finding it to be quite the challenge to master. I know there are a lot of us who struggle with this, which is what prompted me to write about it.
Patience is something we are taught the beginning of our lives, as small children. I remember my grandma always telling me to hold my horses, and to be patient. Being the literal kid I was, I would respond to her with, “But grandma, I don’t have any horses!” I remember one time she said it, and I literally went into my bedroom, and grabbed all of my toy horses, and ran up to her, holding them in my arms. “I’m holding my horses grandma!”, I said excitedly. She laughed and explained to me the meaning of “holding your horses” and what it means to be patient.
If you Google the definition of the word “patience”, it is the ability to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed, anxious or upset. How many of you suffer from anxiety? If we were all in a room, and I had people raise their hands, I guarantee you would probably look around, and see most everyone’s hand raised. If you read my post titled “Finding Your Joy” from a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that anxiety is something I’ve been trying to grapple with for years. Those of you with anxiety know how challenging it can be to deal with on a day-to-day basis.
Did you know that there is a connection between anxiety and impatience? In a nutshell, being anxious makes it extremely difficult to have the patience to wait for something to happen. Did you know that there is also a connection between anxiety and trust? Picture a relationship between two people. One of those two people is calm and relaxed, while the other one is always questioning things about the relationship, and never fully having the security or assurance that they are loved or cared for. This is where problems can arise, and often when couples start to drift apart from each other. It’s the same in life and in our relationship with Christ.
We go about our day, and both our patience and trust is tested, as well as our attitude. Think about all of the times you’ve had to sit at a traffic light and how impatient you can get just waiting for the light to turn green. Then, you finally get through that light, only to have the person driving next to you, cut you off. How do you react? Do you let it roll off of your back, or do you start honking at that person and yelling things you normally wouldn’t? What I’m saying is, we all have a choice at how we will respond to different situations. It isn’t easy, but if we work at it everyday, and learn to be patient in those situations, it can be life changing.
Now, think about your relationship with Christ. Say you are going through something really tough. Maybe it’s a job loss, a divorce, or getting diagnosed with a terminal illness. Or maybe it’s the loss of a child, parent, friend, or family member. Whatever the case may be, how are you responding to it? Are you allowing God to take control of it, or are you trying to gain control of it yourself? This life wasn’t meant for you to suffer through these circumstances alone. God wants you to know that He is right beside you, and He wants you to trust that He will take care of you, both in the good times and bad.
One of my favorite poems is called “Footprints In The Sand”. If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s a comforting picture of God’s love for us. To summarize it, a man has a dream about walking along the beach with the Lord. The sky is flashing several scenes from the man’s life, both happy and sad. As he’s watching the happy scenes of his life, he’s noticing two sets of footprints in the sand, one is his, and the other is the Lord’s. For the sad scenes of his life (the ones where he was at his lowest), the man noticed only one set of footprints. This upsets the man, which prompts him to ask the Lord about it:
“LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most, you would leave me.”
The LORD replied:
“My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
I come back to this poem frequently, and each time I do, it brings tears to my eyes. I think of all of the times I selfishly thought that God wasn’t there for me when I needed Him; and how I would grow angry with Him for things He allowed to happen in my life. Then, I read this poem and I picture Him carrying me through those times. Looking back, I can definitely see how He WAS carrying me. There’s no way I would have been able to have the strength to carry myself.
So, whatever it is you are going through, don’t lose hope. Trust in God, and be patient in Him, knowing that He will carry you. Wait on Him, and He will guide you in all areas of your life. When you learn to be patient and have trust in God, you will see so much more of what He is doing in your life. You will find peace during the heartache. You will live a more joyous life, and you will be able to spread that joy in the lives around you.
Don’t forget how big, strong and powerful God is. After all, He isn’t just carrying you, He’s carrying all of His children that he loves and cares for! It seems impossible, but for God it isn’t. He has you in the palm of His hand, and He will never let you fall. When you start to have doubts about God’s love for you, remember these verses:
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Copyright © 2019 Angela J. Stout.