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Running out of patience?

Running out of patience?
Running out of patience?
The Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh
By the Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh, Special Writer

Background text: Isaiah 40:31
Devotional text: Romans 8:25

Usually when I awake in the morning, it is to a peaceful world. There is quiet all around me. I can pray. I get up and feed my two cats and make breakfast for myself. I start my day turning it over to God and asking for his blessings. And the day begins.

Pretty soon, I find myself on the road driving somewhere. Drivers who are in a hurry whiz by me as I maintain the speed limit. We tend to meet up at the stoplight. Sometimes, I drive by the speeding car that is now stopped by a police officer. But, in truth, that rarely happens.

My destination, a popular grocery store, is full of people filling their carts. Up in the front of the store there are not enough cashiers to meet the demand, so we wait in line. Some customers patiently wait and strike up good-natured conversations with one another. Others grouse about the wait and remain alert for a shorter line they might move to.

It seems more and more that in our busy world we grow impatient with waiting. We develop an attitude of wanting it “right now!” I’ve often wondered what good it really does for us to be filled with stress and anxiety as we lose self-restraint.

So, I turn to the Bible to see what God’s word has to say about waiting and having patience. There are many scriptures that deal with this subject, both in Old and New Testaments. Today, we will look at some verses from each.

Let’s begin with Proverbs 15:18: “Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace.”

In this scripture, written by King Solomon, we find much truth. He answers the question about waiting. Who wants to see an argument develop while you’re waiting in line or somewhere else out in public? What good does it do as we watch the stressed-out person turn red in the face with angry words coming from his or her lips? And then we ask ourselves, “Is that person sometimes me?”

Solomon rightfully tells us that “patience brings peace.” This phrase refers to all situations, especially to those we find stressful. Are you stressed out, feeling impatient or just plain angry?

Take a deep breath, breathing slowly in and out. It will help you to calm down. Take time to re-think the situation. Ask God to give you peace. Train yourself to do these things before just simply re-acting to a situation, for patience gives us the time to develop a peaceful attitude.

One definition for patience is self-restraint. In order to develop patience in our lives, we must keep ourselves free from becoming anxious. We experience patience when we learn to wait for something without becoming upset as we wait. Angry words never bring good results. On the contrary, a mind at peace can speak with wisdom, and more often than not, garner good results.

At other times, while we wait for God to answer our prayers for help, it is good to remember the verse from Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Our thankfulness has to do with knowing that God is in control and will bring forth a good result in his time. It is not a thankfulness for the problem or trouble. The peace that comes upon us is unlike anything we have experienced before. It is a restful peace that allows us to breathe deeply and trust in what the Lord will do.

The Biblical definition of patience is synonymous with remaining steadfast and enduring to the end. It’s living with confidence that things will turn out well.

In Psalm 37:7, we read these words: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices.”

How often do we hear people complain that those who are unjust are also the ones who always seem to get their way? Their lives seem easier while we struggle. Here in Psalm 37 is our answer: don’t seek after what someone else has or what someone else is doing.

It is better that we keep our eyes on God and the many blessings he has in store for us. God’s blessings come from the love and goodness and mercy of God. We don’t need to “carry out evil devices” in order to receive God’s gifts.

Another good scripture speaks about the wisdom of people versus the wisdom of God. In 1 Corinthians 2:4-5, Paul spoke to the church at Corinth about this very subject. This is what he said: “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom but on God’s power.”

Here are a few more scriptures that speak to us about having patience:

Psalm 130:5 — “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in his word I have hope.”

Ecclesiastes 7:8 — “The end of something is better than its beginning. Patience is better than pride.”

Finally, I offer one of my favorite scripture passages. It’s from Isaiah 40:31: “But those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Our message today speaks to us about having patience. God’s word encourages us to be calm as we wait for his timing in answering our prayers. His word tells us to pray “with thanksgiving” and to “rejoice in hope.”