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Last month, I told you I was starting to do a topic of the month post to encourage topical Bible studies. Last month’s topic was freedom. For August, in honor of many teachers and students returning to school soon, I chose the topic of patience and waiting on God.
I went through several suggestions of how you can use these topical guides. I hope you found the suggestions and the verses useful. I’m still working my way through the list and noticed I didn’t like the verses being all out of order. So, this month, everything is in Bible-book order. Nice and neat!
Patience and Waiting
Why is waiting so hard? I’ve failed the ‘patience exams’ with my own children at every age, and with the students in my classes. I’ve failed the test with my husband, and with impulse buying. I struggle with delaying gratification, whether it’s with chocolate or a new book (who needs shoes – my vice is books!). I’m just bad at waiting and patience when it comes to small things.
On the other hand, waiting for big things – like a new job or restoration of a relationship – I’m usually pretty good at those. It’s the daily-ness of the little things that wear me out.
Are you the same? Or are you the opposite? Whatever your challenge with patience and waiting on God, there are some simple steps we can take that can make it easier.
Strengthening Your Patience and Waiting on God Muscles
When I think about becoming more patient, my first thought is almost always of how patient God is with me. In Exodus, God Himself declares to Moses that He is a patient and loving God, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression, and sin” (v6-7). He is so patient with me and my failures, how can I be less towards those who fail me?
Second, I think of the times I’ve had to wait on the Lord and He’s come through for me. He is never early, but He’s never late, either. Case in point: I’ve been looking for a teaching job since we moved last summer. I was just offered a position last week. Just in time for new teacher orientation and the new school year. Just in time for my husband to resign from the job that taxes him too much physically. Just in time – I believe – for the right fit for me, the school, and the students. He’s never early, never late, always ‘just in time.’
Finally, I think of those who’ve gone before me. Hebrews 11 is the hall of fame of heroes of the faith. Scripture says all of them “did not receive what was promised” because God was providing something better for us – for me. They waited in faith – and never received the promise. They never received it because God wanted me to receive it. What a blessing! What a privilege! How can I be less patient than those saints who waited so long for the promise – and the Promised One.
Hebrews 12 says we are surrounded by this great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us! Not only that, but we have the Ultimate Example of faith and patience in Jesus. He “endured the cross” because it was necessary. He waited on the Father – but this time ‘just in time’ meant on the other side of Calvary – on the other side of Easter.
These reminders – as well as the encouragement I get from the verses I’m sharing on this month’s topical handout – help me to wait patiently. Not just for the Lord. But also for the person in front of me at the light that isn’t moving when it turns green. For the person with 22 items in the ’15 or less’ line. For the new fill-in-the-blank season (football, fall TV, baseball, style, hockey, Christmas, beach, …).
Waiting is hard. It is made easier by knowing why we wait, how many people have waited before us, and that our waiting is never in vain.