Children want things now: “But I want dessert now!” “Are we there yet?” “Now can we open our presents?” In contrast, as we get older we learn to wait. Medical students wait through training. Parents wait in hopes that the prodigal will return. We wait for what is worth waiting for, and in the process we learn patience.
God, who is timeless, requires of us a mature faith that may involve delays that seem like trials. Patience is one sign of that maturity, a quality that can develop only through the passing of time.
Many prayers in the Bible come out of the act of waiting. Jacob waited 7 years for a wife and then worked 7 more after being tricked by her father (Gen. 29:15-20). The Israelites waited 4 centuries for deliverance; Moses waited 4 decades for the call to lead them, then 4 more decades for a Promised Land he would not enter.
“My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning,” wrote the psalmist (Ps. 130:6 NIV). The picture comes to mind of a watchman counting the minutes for his shift to be over.
I pray for the patience to endure times of trial, to keep anticipating, keep hoping, keep believing. I pray for patience to be patient.