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Patience Is A Virtue…But, Boy, It Is Hard! - Ashley




Do you remember the marshmallow experiment that became popular a few years ago? In the experiment a parent would set a candy or a marshmallow in front of their child, then walk away telling their child if they could wait to eat the candy until they came back, they could have twice the amount of candy. If I were the child in the experiment, I am fairly sure I would fail. It goes against my nature to be a patient person. Normally I am a nervous nellie who rushes around, and rarely is it my inclination to wait. Yet, I know the importance of patience and it is something I continue to work on.



Imperfect Patience


This summer God put me in a situation where my patience was tested. I wish I could tell you that I was obedient and patient; however, that was not the case. My rebel heart rushed to do exactly what I had been told not to.



The bad news? I was disobedient to God, and I paid a heavy consequence for my impatient attitude. Ironically, part of my consequence was having to wait even longer for the thing I wanted.

The good news? Our God is a God of forgiveness. He knows that we are imperfect people, and He takes our imperfect patience and uses it for His good. Often through our disobedience we are given the opportunity to try again, although we are often faced with the trials of our own blunders.



We see this presented in the bible through stories like Sarah and Abraham who decided not to wait for the son they were promised and instead took matters into their own hands. Moses who lost his patience not only with the Israelites, but also with God, and Paul who pleads not once, not twice, but three times for the thorn in his side to be removed.



Patience and Chronic illness



Let’s take a second to define Patience.

Patience (noun) the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or long-lasting suffering without getting angry or upset.



Maybe you relate to the second part of the definition of patience, “long lasting trouble or suffering.” Many of us who experience chronic illness or chronic pain experience suffering or trouble of one kind or another. But what about the first half of the definition, “the capacity to accept or tolerate?” How do we cultivate this fruit of the spirit, when we are faced with long lasting hardship?



Cultivating patience through trust…


The following verses are from one of my favorite hymns, “Be Still My Soul” by Jean Sibelius.



“Be still my soul the Lord is on thy side

Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain

Leave to thy God to order and provide

In every change He faithful will remain”



When we are in a season of hardship or waiting our response needs to be trust. Isaiah 40:28 says, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth, He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” (ESV). Our God is El Olam (God everlasting) and El Elyon (God most high) no matter what we are going though we can put our trust in a savior who is bigger than any delay, trouble, or suffering.



Cultivating patience through surrender…


After trust, comes surrender. It is not enough simply to say, “Lord, I trust you,” we must go further by surrendering the things we want and the things we do not want. We surrender our wants not because God does not care about our wants or needs, we surrender to God because He has a perfect plan for our life.



“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28



Cultivating patience through prayer…


Often when we are waiting, we are caught up in anxiety or fear of the future, this is where prayer comes in. I enjoy praying through passages of scripture and using a practice like breath prayer when I am particularly anxious or having trouble waiting. Some of my favorite scriptures to pray are

  • Philippians 4

  • Psalm 18

  • Psalm 51

  • Romans 8

  • Romans 12


Cultivating patience by taking the next step…


So, what do we do in the waiting? Biblical waiting is not passive. As believers we do not sit idly by until something big happens, we wrestle with God, we trust, we surrender to Him, we pray, and then we take the next step. This looks different for everyone, for some it may look like washing the dishes and folding the laundry, for others it may mean physical therapy exercises or medical appointments. The point is, no matter who we are or what we are waiting for, life keeps going on, and God wants to walk with us through it all.


Encouragement


My friend, if you find yourself in a season of hardship, I want you to know, you are not alone. I also want to challenge you to answer these questions; ‘What areas in your life are you having to wait patiently?’ ‘What do you need to surrender to God?’ And ‘What is the next step you need to take?’


Lastly, I want to provide you with resources for encouragement.



Books


One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp


Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown


Dark Clouds Deep Mercy by Mark Vroegop


Made For The Journey by Elizabeth Elliot




Songs


He Will Hold Me Fast, By Shane & Shane


No One Has Cared For Me Like Jesus, By Stephanie Gretzinger


I Shall Not Want, By Audrey Assad


Album: Scripture Lullabies


Artists: The Psalms Project





“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”


Numbers 6:24-26




Ashley is a piano teacher currently living in South Carolina with her husband and fur babies. She has a genetic disease called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. She loves homemaking and spending time outdoors. When she is not working you can find her curled up with a good audio book and some cross stitching. You can connect with Ashley over on Instagram



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