1 February 2023
Be patient!
Wait for the Lord … Psalm 27: 14
‘Take the waiting out of wanting.’ This slogan typifies the socalled developed world, with its haste, impatience and intolerance. The developing world has much to teach the rest of us about patience. Yet this quality should be evident worldwide in every Christian, being one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5: 22) Perhaps it is to strengthen patience that God gives us so many exercises in waiting.
Many Bible characters were kept waiting. Abraham and Sarah waited many years for God to give them their promised son. Joseph endured years of frustration before seeing God’s purpose finally achieved. Moses spent forty years – forty years! – in the desert before being called to take the Israelites through another desert – for a further forty years! Our few hours tied to the operating room whilst other calls pile up, or longer periods spent waiting for results, or a partner, or a more secure job, should all take on a different perspective. From beginning to end, the Bible illustrates, or calls for, patience.
Patience is not resignation, but active trust in God. We wait on him, either for a call to action or, should he prefer to keep us immobile, learning to rest in his loving, all-knowing care. The psalmist compares this to a servant with eyes on the master, ready for the next order but meantime, it seems, just waiting. (Psalm 123: 2) We are to wait trustfully on God, not merely for something to happen. The next step is up to him. Sometimes he seems to keep us in the dark until we have learned this lesson. The fruit of the Spirit is … patience.

Leave to his sovereign sway
To choose and to command;
So shalt thou, wondering, own His sway,
How wise, how strong His hand …

Paulus Gerhardt (1607–76),
tr. by John Wesley (1703–91)

Read: Genesis 7: 11; 8: 1, 13–14; Isaiah 30: 18; Revelation 3: 10.