We’ve all heard it said AT LEAST a million times… “Patience is a virtue.” I honestly have no idea where this quote originated, and let me spare you the time of looking it up online; you’ll get a zillion different answers, and who knows which one is correct!
For me, I’ve heard it the most from my parents…
As a kid, I was ready to start playing soccer before I was old enough… “Patience is a virtue.” (Although, my Athletic Director father went ahead and let me start)
When I lost my hearing, I was impatient to get to the next step, because I had to wear useless hearing aids (hearing aids are great, but when you have NO hearing for them to aid, not so much)… “Patience is a virtue.”
Growing up, I’d be super-impatient about something with school, theatre, art, etc… there it was again… “Patience is a virtue.”
Applying for college… “Patience is a virtue.”
Now I’m at a point of my life where I’ve heard it SO many times, I’m about sick of it, honestly. I graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with my MFA in Fine Art this past May, and have VERY impatiently been applying and waiting for jobs. In fact, I’ve been so impatient, I let fear rule my thoughts, and I almost took a job I didn’t really want, simply for the sake of working again–I’m so ready to get out on my own again, pave my own way into this crazy world, meet new people, see new things, visit new places…
But am I REALLY ready? I know I’m mentally ready… but maybe I’m not physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually ready… All I know is that God has been really working on patience with me lately. I KNOW that He will provide a job and sustenance and that His timing is so so so so much better than mine. I KNOW that. I trust Him.
But do I really LIVE out that knowledge, that trust?
I think that’s what God is trying to tell me. Until I can 100% trust Him, maybe I’m not really ready to be on my own again. Maybe He wants me to stay with my parents longer than I want, so I can be part of their lives, and enjoy the time I have with them, ’cause goodness knows it won’t last forever. Maybe He wants me to be close to my brother and his wife, so I can watch their ADORABLE child, Bailey, grow up a bit before I leave and go elsewhere. Maybe, maybe, maybe…
That brings me to today’s devotional reading from “David: Seeking God’s Heart,” a devotional study written by Beth Moore. Today, I was reading in 2 Samuel, and the title of the chapter in the study was “Right Place: Sometimes God reveals Himself through experiences we don’t understand.”
Hello, smack in the face!
Today’s specific passage was 2 Samuel 2:1-7. David has just heard about Saul’s death, as well as that of Saul’s sons, including Jonathan, with whom David was incredibly close. David is trying to decide what to do, and where to go from here. Instead of acting of his own accord, David ASKED God what he should do! This is super important to note–at least for me–because David ALWAYS asked God what he should do before he did ANYTHING. David knows that God can answer and that He will… in HIS time. This is where Beth Moore says, “He had taken some wrong turns and some right turns, but he took virtually every step crying out to his God,” which reminds me that, no matter where we go or what we do, if we strive to plant our feet in God’s Way, we will get where we are going… it may be a different route than we originally think… it may not be the scenic route… and it may start MUCH later than we want it to… but God knows what His plan is, not us… and HE knows what needs to happen in order to make it come to fruition. We just need to trust and follow.
I used to think that constantly asking God for direction would be like pestering Him… like, He has SO much going on that I shouldn’t “bother” him by asking for the same thing over and over again. But that is exactly what David does. He asks God for direction, repeatedly, until God gives him specifics. And until God does supply these specifics, David stays put. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do anything or go anywhere until God says something extremely specific (I honestly believe that God can and will use us anywhere, even if it’s somewhere that seems unlikely). In fact, if you struggle with that, you should totally read the book, “Just Do Something,” by Kevin DeYoung. It’s a pretty good read!
Basically, what I’m saying is that, maybe… just maybe… asking God for specific directions isn’t a sign of impatience or a lack of trust. Maybe it’s a sign of deepened trust; a trust that transcends the fear of becoming a bother. Maybe, like prayer, asking God for specific directions is more for us, as humans, than it is for God. Perhaps it is a reminder, a daily mantra, to help us persevere in our patience and remember just why it is that we are patiently waiting for God’s direction: ‘Cause His way is the ONLY way!
Beth Moore left some pretty good guidelines/suggestions for how to learn to listen to God’s Word when we are in doubt or struggling with what to do. I’m gonna leave them here, and challenge you, and myself, to try to incorporate these more daily:
- Acknowledge your specific need for direction.
- Continue to pray and study His Word daily.
- Ask God to HELP you recognize His answer (we humans can be pretty darn dumb)
- Ask for a confirmation if you have any doubt. (God didn’t even hate Thomas for doubting, way back in John 20:24-29, when he appears to Thomas and the disciples after the Resurrection… He won’t hate us. He’ll just help us understand.)
Sorry it’s a bit of a long one this time… I guess I had a lot to say!
Peace, love and Jesus,