We’ve all heard it said that patience, (waiting without complaint), is a virtue. And the apostle Paul lists patience among the fruits of the Spirit. (Gal. 5:22-23) Unfortunately, for me patience has always been a struggle and waiting is definitely not one of my strengths.
In times of trial when I’m hurting and in despair, the last thing I want to do is wait patiently. But in Psalm 27 that’s exactly what God tells us to do…wait. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord.”
Consider David. Many of the Psalms were written during times when David was experiencing deep personal pain. Times when neither his own strength, nor his cleverness could save him. David knew his deliverance would only come from the Lord. In 27:1 he says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?”
David didn’t fear his enemies. He knew that as he followed in obedience, the Lord would defend him at every turn. 1 John 4:18 tells us that, “Perfect love casts out fear.” David rested securely in the knowledge that God’s perfect love would always protect him no matter what.
When we are suffering we don’t want to wait, we want relief. And when that relief doesn’t come immediately, fear can begin to creep in. We become bitter, impatient, or to take matters into our own hands in desperation. But God knows what we are going through. And whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, they are never too great for the word of God. For nothing can thwart the power of our Father who has been keeping His children for many thousands of years.
Each day is filled with its own challenges to overcome and a chance to practice patience. James tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials. Because the testing of our faith develops perseverance. And, “perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). Every challenge is a new opportunity to honor and glorify God. We glorify God by resting in Him, trusting Him completely, and waiting patiently on Him.
John Piper says, “To wait on God means to pause and soberly consider our own inadequacy and the Lord’s all-sufficiency, and to seek counsel and help from the Lord, and to hope in Him (Ps. 33:20-22; Isa. 8:17)… The folly of not waiting for God is that we forfeit the blessing of having God work for us. The evil of not waiting on God is that we oppose God’s will to exalt Himself in mercy.”
So I will continue to strive for the virtue of patience. I will wait on the Lord, and trust in His perfect timing. And I will surrender completely to my Father in heaven. Because He loves me, knows what’s best for me, and will never let me down.