Back in 2002 I needed to take a flight from Denver to Newark to get home in time for New Years Eve. Unfortunately, due to a nasty blizzard I had to fly into Philadelphia and spend the night at the airport because roads were closed and the railways had stopped running when my flight finally arrived. I would spend the next 7 hours patiently waiting for things to open up again. I’m proud to say I didn’t complain, I just sat there letting time play out. I’m know I haven’t always been that patient, especially when it comes to ministry.
For example here are three areas I’ve struggled to be patient:
- Efficiency In Systems – I have gotten frustrated passing off a responsibility to someone only to find that it doesn’t get done in the manner I had hoped for it to get done. It’s almost like I forget that some people haven’t done things as long as I have, they don’t know the ins and outs. Patience helps us recognize that efficiency is earned in time and with practice.
- Ideas Sticking – Ever wonder why people ask the same questions for something you’ve communicated a million times? Yeah me too and then I realize I probably have to communicate the idea a million more times. It’s not because other people are slow, it’s just that some ideas (especially paradigm shifts) take time to settle in.
- Results In Growth – You hear about the church that attracted 100 students last week for a night of dodgeball. You tell yourself, “I’ve been doing this for years, when are the 100 students going to come to my ministry?” You almost feel jaded because you’ve been doing Bible study; yet, the lure of dodgeball wins out 10 out of 10 times. If you are truly doing what God has asked you to do, the numbers may take time. Sometimes, it’s just about doing what you’ve been doing over and over again with tweaks and adjustments here and there.
With the ability to access and gain so much with the touch of a phone, it should be no surprise that the gift of patience is vanishing. Often times when we don’t get the results we desire we blame people or objects. While they both can carry the fault doesn’t always belong to people or objects, because it might be a lack of patience.
Especially if you are expecting big results, they don’t happen over night. So take the time to find patience, God’s patience because when you relinquish control and allow God’s plan to fully play out you’ll know it was worth the wait.
Where do you find it hardest to gain patience? Why?