From Our Pastors

In a World of Now, Be Patient

Posted by Kevin Blalock on

While recently scrolling through Twitter looking for important news and updates (insert sarcasm), I stumbled across a new advertising campaign from the shoe company New Balance. The hashtag for the campaign was #WeGotNow, but the two taglines for the campaign caught my attention. The first was, “when you know what you want, waiting isn’t an option” and the second, “impatience is a virtue”.

 While I know this is a shoe campaign to get you to buy a new shoe they have released, the slogans really caught my eye. This the tagline for our culture at large today – impatience is a virtue. We celebrate impatience under the banner of ‘hustling’ and ‘getting after it’. We live in a world where any information we need is at our fingertips or in our pocket. Most of us don’t have to wait for food; we can go to a fast-food place and get it. We don’t have to wait for anything. And when you live in a world where waiting for anything becomes an inconvenience, impatience becomes the virtue and patience becomes an afterthought, and if we are honest, it becomes annoying to even be asked to be patient.

 The problem with this is that the Bible calls patience a virtue, a fruit of the Spirit, rather than the impatience our culture breeds and advertises as virtuous. In calling patience a fruit of the Spirit, Paul is upping the ante for us who claim to be followers of Christ. A growing patience in your heart and life is a mark that there is fruit being born in your life from being a connected to Christ. Likewise, if you are always incredibly impatient, and have no desire to be patient (and this ad is telling you to think is GOOD), you have reason to question whether the Spirit lives within you.

 Why would patience be considered so important? Why can’t it just be go get what I want when I want it? I think Scripture gives us at least three reasons to practice growing in patience, in waiting when we would rather rush. God’s kindness, God’s command, and God’s promise all push us toward patience.

 2 Peter 3:9 states: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish but that al should reach repentance.”

 God’s kindness should lead us to be a patient people, because He is so incredibly patient with us. God is patient toward you, the verse says. How patient has God been with you in your life - in your coming to faith, and when you fall into the same sin again and again? In the same way that 1 John 4:9 says we love because He first loved us, so too are we a patient people with everyone because God has been so unbelievably patient with us. It is God’s right to end our lives at any point because of our sin and rebellion; he would be just in doing so. But he doesn’t – and he doesn’t just not end our lives, but He actually is patient with us, drawing us to Himself, and saves us from our sin through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, and saves us into His kingdom and mission for the world. If God is that patient with us when we don’t deserve it, that should certainly lead to us being patient with others even when it is difficult and costs us something.

Psalm 37: 7-9: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.”

 Second, the Lord commands us to be patient. And in that trust there is a hope for us – that God is just and in charge of the world, and those that seem to prosper from impatience and prosper from evil will not stand in the judgment. They will be cut off.

 It is easy for our eyes to drift outward and see those that are impatient, those that would work evil and do evil to others to get ahead, see them prospering, and become frustrated. Well, if they do those things, prosper, and seemingly face no consequences what good is it for me to be patient? God commands His people to be patient and to trust Him. Let Him deal with those who do evil and seem to prosper from it. God is sovereign and He is in control, and one day all will be set right. Which leads to the last reason we should be patient – God’s promise.

 Isaiah 40:31: “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount us with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

 Notice the promise that God makes in this verse – it doesn’t say one will become exhausted and faint. It says those who wait on the Lord – his timing and his answer – are actually spiritually renewed and re-energized. God takes our waiting on Him and uses it for His glory and our good!

 Think on all the times in Scripture that God’s people had to wait. Abraham didn’t see his promised son until he was almost 100 years old; he waited his entire adult life, not one year or even a few years!  

 Joseph was thrown in a pit, sold into slavery, lied about by Potiphar’s wife, imprisoned, and forgotten about before God revealed why all of that happened – so that God’s people could be saved and the line preserved. What men meant for evil, God meant for good, but it wasn’t overnight.

 Israel was enslaved in Egypt for over 400 years, exiled, and then in the wilderness 40 years before they saw the promised land. Much of that was due to their grumbling, rather than patient waiting. But God, in his kindness and long-suffering with His people, still kept His promise to them, but it wasn’t overnight.

 In each of those cases, and thousands more like them in Scripture, we see patiently waiting on the Lord brings about spiritual sight and renewal.

 In a world where we want everything to happen instantly, to instantly see results, and celebrate impatience as virtue, wait on the Lord. As he has been patient with us, be patient. And in that patience, God’s goodness, kindness, and mercy will renew you in your waiting in ways that instant gratification never can.


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