Don’t pray for patience some say because then the trials will come that will teach you patience!
There’s some truth to that.
Early in having combined our two single families some 37 years ago, I found myself thin on patience and short with our boys.
I caught myself one morning as they left for school. I bowed there at the front door and prayed asking forgiveness and for help to be more patient like Jesus. A short time later, circumstances out of our control demanded extraordinary patience.
The asthma that gripped my husband Ken and persisted several years required immense patience and kindness. Loss of work, taking on more responsibility myself … while still having compassion for his predicament…piled one on top of another; along with caring for our boys and helping them to understand our circumstances.
Suddenly, I remembered my prayer. It was time to see through God’s eyes … his perspective.
Looking back, I was learning another facet of patience recently uncovered while studying Galatians 5: 22 NLT which says, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
Some translations say, “patience,” the ability to wait for something you’re longing for; being composed even when things are in upheaval.
But another word for patience is forbearance. I settled in for a deeper look.
Forbearance asks something more of me.
Forbearance says, “I’ll give you more time.”
Something has to give if we are to live in harmony while putting up with someone’s poor behavior … ultimately expecting repentance and forgiveness. In fact, that must be the goal or there will be bad behavior indefinitely.
A parable in the Bible tells the story of a person who owed his king millions of dollars and couldn’t pay. The king ordered him and his family sold, but the debtor pleaded for patience and received the king’s forgiveness.
Is God calling you to forbear with someone? Giving more time is a blessing, especially when the treasure of forgiveness will be bestowed.
But what if bad behavior doesn’t accompany forbearance … just faith and trust?
I wonder. Do we forbear with God. When his answers seem slow in coming or come in unexpected ways … when in essence he is asking us to give him more time…do we practice forbearance with our Creator who knows best?
His patience with us is beyond understanding.
Psalm 27:14 reminds us so graciously. “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!”