“The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him, So it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us—And it is best to learn this patience in our youth.”
The poet Langston Hughes famously asked in his poem “Harlem,” “What happens to a dream deferred?” One of his musings—“Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?”—became the title of a popular and famous play about the Younger family’s struggle to fulfill their dream of a better life. At the risk of spoiling the plot, the characters are still waiting in some level of uncertainty as the curtain closes.
Like the Youngers, when we have big dreams, plans, and goals it can be hard to be patient and wait for them to happen. Not everything happens right away, and sometimes the wait is uncomfortable. We may find ourselves wondering why it is taking so long to see the change we desire. We may even battle anger and sorrow in the midst of our impatience.
However, when waiting for God to move, it is necessary that our wait be marked not only with eager expectancy but also longsuffering. God doesn’t work on our time schedule. He has His own timing and does not think in the way of clocks and calendars.
For people who love to have everything in order, this can be frustrating. But when God has already promised every heavenly blessing in our lives, what is there to be impatient about? Why be impatient about receiving something we already know is ours?
Instead of waiting in impatience for your promise from God, wait in thanksgiving! God has already supplied all of our needs and made a way for us to be saved. He has already done His part in establishing the new covenant that granted us eternal life in Him and unbroken fellowship with Him, and He continues to work in our lives every day!
We don’t need to live in impatience, for God’s glory and blessings are already ours; we just need to thank God for already providing and trust that He will continue to work “for the good of those who love him” (Rom. 8:28)!
If you are waiting for God to move in your life today, take time in His Word and in prayer thanking God for what He has already done! You’ll be surprised how fast time goes by when you spend your time focused on all the ways God is blessing you in the present instead of anxiously waiting for what is to come.
“The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression.”
“She must have the patience of Job.”
It’s a common phrase derived from James 5:10–11 that refers to the seemingly endless perseverance of Job, who waited faithfully for God to turn his suffering into blessing. While Job’s patience is commendable, this popular idiom perhaps tempts us to miss out on an even greater example of longsuffering: God Himself.
It’s easy to forget that God is patient with us every single day! When God asks us to show His patient love to others, He is not asking us to do anything that He does not do Himself.
- God is patient with us even when we make mistakes.
- God is patient with us even when we aren’t patient with others.
- God is patient with us even when we aren’t living our best lives.
- God is patient with us even when we go astray from Him.
- God is patient with us even when we are mad at Him.
- God is patient with us even when we don’t trust Him.
- God is patient with us even when we throw temper tantrums.
- God is patient with us even when we don’t spend time with Him.
- God is patient with us even when we have wronged Him.
Second Peter 3:9 reminds us, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God is patient with you and me and everyone else every single day. His desire to be reconciled with us and to walk in intimacy with us outweighs His frustration with our choices. It outweighs His wrath.
After all, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin” (Heb. 4:15). God understands our struggle against the flesh and the enemy and extends to us the grace we need in order to walk in righteousness. He waits in eager expectation for us to call on Him and engage in relationship with Him because He loves us passionately and unconditionally. No matter what we have or haven’t done, will or won’t do, God will always be patient and act in love toward us.
Today I encourage you to show the patience of Job—and His loving heavenly Father—to the people in your life and praise God for the great love He always continues to give us.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another…as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Is there anyone you tend to avoid because he or she is different than you? Is there any person who has caused you harm in the past or who you are having trouble forgiving? Is there any person you tend to argue with over different beliefs?
With so many types of people in the world—people with different personalities, opinions, backgrounds, and personal preferences—it’s no big secret that not everyone gets along all of the time. However, if you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to take a step back and reconsider these relationships in light of Paul’s admonition to believers in Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Someone once said, “Ministry would be really easy if it weren’t for people.” But God says that ministry is people. (See John 13:34–35; Matthew 5:43–48.) Instead of thinking of these people as problems, annoying, or people to avoid, think of them instead as people whom God loves, cherishes, and adores.
There are always going to be people in your life that annoy you. There are going to be people in your life that let you down. There are going to be people in your life that don’t like you or that you don’t like. There are going to be people that you just don’t get along with. But as Christians we are called to remember that God made, shaped, and designed every person. Every person needs Christ and the love He provides. Every person has a purpose. Every person has gone through struggles and needs the hope of God’s glory—even the people that you make not particularly like.
God wants us to love every person, no matter who they are. He wants us to be humble, gentle, patient, and loving. This means that as believers in Christ we are to love and respect each person regardless of their race, color, religion, political beliefs, background, education, family, attitude, or quirks. This may seem like a tall order—and it is!—but just as God calls us to love others in this way, He promises to equip us for this kind of unconditional love. The apostle Paul wrote that we “have been taught by God to love one another” (1 Thess. 4:9). You can’t find a better teacher than that!
All people in your life are opportunities to grow in love. All people in your life are opportunities for patience. All people in your life are opportunities for ministry, and sharing the love of God with people is much more important than satisfying your own desires.
Today I encourage you to evaluate your own attitudes toward the people in your life, particularly those with whose names you answered the questions at the top of this post. Reach out to these people today in love.
Remember, God calls us to love our neighbors (Matt. 22:37–39), and He loves it when we show His love to others!
“Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and He will give you success.” ~ Proverbs 3:5–6
If you think God can’t move in your life because of the mistakes you’ve made or the situation you’re currently in, I’ve got great news for you:
God is not limited by our mistakes!
God is not limited by our burdens!
Don’t believe me? The stories of hundreds of people in the Bible could tell you otherwise.
Abraham didn’t understand how God could give him a son after 99 years.
Moses didn’t understand how God could use him after he committed murder.
Joseph didn’t understand how God could use him after his brothers sold him into slavery.
Job didn’t understand how God could bless him after he had lost everything.
Jonah didn’t understand how God could save him after he ran away.
Peter didn’t understand how God could use him after he rejected Christ.
These are just a few among many other examples. These men wrestled against adverse circumstances and the consequences of their own poor choices—none of which were too big or too bad for God to overcome.
We don’t have to understand how God will change our situations.
We don’t have to know all of the answers.
All we need to know is that God is not limited and that He wants to move on your behalf.
It doesn’t matter the amount of money we have,
or the amount of knowledge we have learned.
It doesn’t matter how many mistakes we’ve made,
or how many good deeds we’ve done.
God’s love, grace, and mercy do not depend on our performance!
God’s love, grace, and mercy are only based on what Christ did at the cross!
If you are in a tough situation today or burdened by past mistakes, turn to God.
Trust Him with your struggles, and don’t worry about how He’s going to take them away from you.
There are no limitations to the ways God can move in your life.
God is faithful, and He will never fail you!
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, esv