“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” -- Romans 12:12 (ESV)
Patience has never been one of my strengths. When my husband and I have a disagreement, I want it resolved right away – but I need to be patient. When I’m excited about a new project or idea, I want to get started immediately, make things happen, and not waste time – but I need to be patient. And when I am sick, wow – that’s when my patience is really tested. I want to be well right away so I can resume my busy schedule – but I’ve learned the hard way, I have to be patient.
As Christians, we are called to wait and be patient. In fact, the concept of waiting is actually celebrated and commanded in Scripture. This doesn’t mean waiting is easy. It’s a struggle to trust God and wait on His plan for our lives. While we can’t control our circumstances, we can choose to be hopeful and patient.
In the book of Lamentations, we read a sorrowful “lament” over the destruction of Jerusalem. None of Israel’s previous enemies had brought such total ruin on the city. As a result, many Jews abandoned their faith in God and believed He had forsaken them. Yet, in the midst of utter confusion and discouragement, they discovered how to wait on God. The prophet Jeremiah provides a great example for us of what it looks like to courageously wait for the Lord with a deep, abiding faith in God. He proclaims––
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” -- Lamentations 3:22-26 (ESV)
Are you in a season of life where you need courageous patience? I encourage you to stay hopeful. Here are three principles found in Lamentations 3:22-26 that I’ve learned to implement, that can also help you find patience and courage while you are waiting.
- Praise God
When we are in a season of waiting, our natural tendency is toward self-pity rather than praise. But, in these times, we must turn our pity into praise (Psalm 34:1). Jeremiah was depressed over the ruin of Jerusalem (Lamentations 3:20), and likely didn’t “feel” like worshiping, but he chose to praise God regardless of the circumstances (verse 22). By choosing to focus on God, rather than our circumstances, we will find the courage to be patient.
- Stay Faithful
It may seem like you’ve been waiting forever. But, don’t think for a moment God has forgotten you. He is fully aware of your distress (Psalm 38:9). Jeremiah didn’t know how long Israel would have to wait for God to bring restoration, yet he chose to remain faithful to the Lord (verse 24). God often uses our season of waiting to grow us so we might become more like Christ (Romans 8:28-29). By choosing to remain faithful to God, we will find the courage to be patient.
- Pray Often
One way we seek the Lord is through prayer. While we are waiting, we must continue to seek God in prayer (Hebrews 12:12). Jeremiah knew that God is good to those who seek Him while they wait (Lamentations 3:25). So, as you pray: (1) Pray for favor (Psalm 69:13), (2) Pray for wisdom (James 1:5), and (3) Pray for compassion (Psalm 40:11). Through our prayers, God will give us the courage to be patient.
Praise God, remain faithful, seek Him through prayer and fully embrace your God-given courageous patience.
“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” -- Isaiah 40:31
Are you in a season of waiting? What will you do today to help you remain patient?