Is it just a Baptist thing to say, “Don’t go praying for patience, because God will surely give you some!” Although it’s always said in a joking context, I think I have taken it to heart over the years and have been genuinely afraid of what might happen lest I pray for patience.
Yet patience is what I need most in this season of my life that is littered with upheaval and change of all sorts. God keeps drawing me back to His word, and I was a little surprised to see how often patience is mentioned throughout scripture. I’ll share several that stuck out to me as I did some research on Blue Letter Bible.
Proverbs 19:11 (NIV) “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”
Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NASB) “The end of a matter is better than its beginning; Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.”
Galatians 5:22 (NASB) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness . . .”
Ephesians 4:1-2 (NASB) “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love . . .”
1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant . . .”
2 Timothy 2:24 “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged . . .”
For all you fellow nerds out there, the original Greek for patient as in 1 Cor 13:4 is makrothumeo meaning: to be long-tempered, bear long with, longsuffering, to patiently endure and “Longsuffering is that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish; it is the opposite of anger, and is associated with mercy. Patience is the quality that does not surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial; it is the opposite of despondency and is associated with hope” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)
So what does this mean for me? How is this fleshed out in my every day life? Because when we get down to it, for some of us it simply means not sighing loudly and rolling your eyes when the person ahead of you in line takes longer than you’d like; it might mean looking through your child’s angry words to see what’s really going on rather than having a freak out; for others it means staring down the barrel of circumstances you swore you’d never be in and trusting God to bring the answers in His time; it means really loving your enemies – I mean the real ones folks, we all know who those are in our lives . . . patience isn’t easy. I don’t care what they say, I am praying for some.