Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Lessons in patience

Our Sunday School lesson this month revolves around the book of Genesis. We've been studying how God taught Noah patience as he waits with his family and all the animals on the ark. I'd never really thought about Noah's patience until we dug in a little deeper. 

Can you imagine being locked inside an ark full of rowdy animals for over a year? Can you imagine wondering why you weren't hearing God's voice during that time, especially when you'd followed His instructions implicitly in building an ark when no one had ever even heard of rain? The Bible never tells us God spoke to Noah while he was on the ark but surely, we assumed He had. 

Noah was found to righteous and obedient by God. Why wouldn't he have conversed with him daily, giving him encouragement or instruction about his future? We don't know. We're not God and we can't understand how He works. But I imagine, in his frail human state, Noah had to have gotten a little impatient now and then. I mean, who wouldn't have? I know I would have! 

If I'd been shut up on the ark for that length of time, I'd have been climbing the walls wondering when God was going to get me out of there. I'd have probably had a panic attack thinking I was never going to get out. I'm a bit of a control freak. I would never have done well closed up in an ark, or any space for even a few days, let alone over a year! 

Well, that's one of my biggest downfalls. I stink at waiting. I guess that's why, after 66 years of life, God is still working on me in that area. 

I don't know when I developed the sin of impatience, but somewhere along the way, I did, and it's stuck with me. If someone ever wanted to torture me, all they'd have to do is make me wait and wait and wait. I'd go mad in the process. 

But I can say, I've learned a few things over the past years ago how God can grow us in the waiting season. Over and over again, He's used periods of waiting to teach me to rely on Him, to trust in Him, and to depend on Him for every tiny detail. I can't say I like it, but I have grown during those times, and it's helped me be a little less impatient than I've been in the past. 

I wish I could say I don't have that problem with waiting anymore, but I'd be lying if I said that. I'm a work in progress and I imagine I will be until the day God calls me home. 

I can just imagine, when I get to heaven and stand outside the pearly gates, I'll be tapping my foot thinking, "What's taking so long??? Hurry up and let me in, for Pete's sake!"  And God will probably look my way and smile thinking, "There she is, the one I created. She still has much to learn." 

I'm in the midst of an important season of waiting right now. It's driving me crazy being unable to control my situation, but that's just the way it is. I'm praying for God to help me behave properly. I won't dare pray for patience, because when you do, He usually sends trials to emphasize our lack of patience. 

If you've ever been in a season of waiting, I empathize with you. And when you're waiting for something, you're really excited about, it's even harder, isn't it? But sometimes, we have to wait for God's best and when we trust Him, He always gives us abundantly more than we could ever ask or dream. 

Patience is definitely not a virtue I possess, but I'm working on it. One day, maybe things will change, but I won't guarantee it. 

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