When I was fairly young, I remember learning a song for a program at church. The chorus has always stuck with me, and both of my boys have heard it several times.
Have patience, have patience.
Don’t be in such a hurry.
When you get impatient,
You only start to worry.
That God is patient too.
And think of all the times when others have to wait for you.
Patience is not something natural for humans. Especially as we move toward adulthood, we become more time-aware, seeking to accomplish everything we can in our lives. Our culture pushes us toward greater efficiency, even at the cost of our peace. We don’t want to wait to accomplish our goal; we want to have the next “viral video” to gain notoriety. We want to take a pill and lose all the fat on our body. We want to jump in the car and arrive at our destination faster than we ever have before.
In Matthew 4, Satan offered Jesus efficient opportunities to “accomplish” His goals on Earth. It is here we find the well known temptations of Jesus. The three temptations could be summed up as the following: food because He is hungry, jumping off the temple and gaining instant notoriety, bowing to Satan and gaining Kingship over the entire world. All these things would be Jesus’ if He would just wait on God’s timing. But Satan offers them all in an instant. Jesus shows us a glimpse of His patience here.
Take a look at the set-up of this story:
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. – Matthew 4:1-2
Before they face-off, Jesus has spent quality time with God the Father in the desert.
The image in my mind of Jesus is like a prize fighter in the locker room before stepping into the ring. He is focusing, visualizing what is to come, preparing for this encounter when He will be tested. He can see the jabs before he even approaches the field of battle, because He understands His adversary. He understands Satan will try to manipulate the circumstances to better his chances. He knows Satan is a cheater and He’s ready to face Him head-on.
Likewise, each of us know the opponent. He is the Father of Lies. His victory comes from stealing the peace Jesus wants us to experience when we are patient and wait on His timing. Don’t buy into his lies! It’s not about getting to a goal as fast as we can. God did not design us to be constantly on the go, always pushing ourselves to the end of our limits. The Lord desires us to be still and wait. He even desires us to rest, instituting the Sabbath the very first week of history (see Genesis 2:2-3)!
Are you waiting patiently on the Lord or looking for a short cut?
What would your day look like today if you tried to be patient in one thing? Take a step back, slow down, and see your schedule through God’s eyes.