When I Lose My Patience with God
"[F]or it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." Phillippians 2:13 (NIV)
ON YOUR MARK ... GET SET ... GO!
Hearing those words, I was always first off the starting block. Actually they were more like pieces of wood taped to the asphalt, but it was junior high; we made do.
It didn't matter to me because I was the fastest kid in our seventh-grade class. I could outrun the girls and the boys any day of the week ... except when it came to the 600-meter run.
Every year we had to go through something called the Presidential Physical Fitness Test. It consisted of a series of strength and endurance tests to determine each student's level of physical fitness. Those who finished the assessment in a certain percentile earned the coveted Presidential Physical Fitness Award.
I wanted that award in the worst kind of way. I knew I could ace the other tests, but year after year one eluded me. The 600-meter run. It seems like such a short distance now, but for this lanky seventh-grader, it was a marathon.
Before we started, the coach gave us instructions to set our pace to finish the race. I thought, Yeah, I know how to pace myself. Fast! I'll be around that track and done before the other kids hear the O in GO! Or, so I thought.
I figured I didn't need to heed the advice of our PE coach. What did he know? I'd set my own pace. And I did.
After running my heart out for about 100 meters, my legs suddenly felt like rubber and my lungs like lead. I couldn't go a second longer. Bent over and gasping for air, I watched out of the corner of my eye as each classmate plodded past me to victory.
Looking back, ignoring guidance and running as fast I could wasn't the best approach. As an adult, I can still run too fast and get ahead of God's plans. Instead of prayerfully asking God where He wants me, I speed ahead with my own agenda. And when I do, I'm like a fast-burning candle with a short wick. I burn out fast.
Our key verse, Philippians 2:13, tells us God has a plan and purpose for us, and He'll get us where He needs us to go. In His timing. We need not try to beat Him to the finish.
I've heard that patience is slowing down to the speed of someone else. I've also learned I need to have a little more patience with God and slow down to His pace — the pace He has set for me.
I have to admit I was disappointed every year that I didn't receive the Presidential Physical Fitness Award. But today, I'd rather finish my race at God's pace and have the reward of hearing Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
Dear Heavenly Father, I have spent my life racing ahead, and I'm exhausted. My desire is to be in step with You. Help me slow down to Your pace, so I don't run past the place and purpose You have set for me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (NIV)
Psalm 27:14, "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." (NIV)
Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What may cause you to rush ahead of God's timing, and what steps can you take to get back in pace with Him?
Pray and ask God to reveal to you where He is working in your life and the lives of your family and friends. Jot down what you learn. Then ask God to show you where you can join Him.