Have you ever heard that you should never pray for patience?
I have. Many times.
But I’ve ignored that suggestion every time.
Because I knew in my soul that I needed patience. And that I wouldn’t receive it if I didn’t ask.
The Lord asks us to live by faith. Sometimes I don’t know what that looks like, but there is one time in particular that I know I knew exactly what it looked like. I don’t recall what I was doing or where I was; those things weren’t important at the time. What was important, though, was that I realized I had zero patience. I also figured that, to face many more years of life (if God so chose to give them to me), I would need a lot of patience for whatever challenges daily living would bring.
I weighed the advice I’d received from countless people. “Never ask for patience,” they’d tell me, “because you won’t like the answer. It’ll be so hard you think you’ll die.”
Then I thought about that verse in the New Testament that says we have not received because we have not asked.
That’s when I knew this was one of those moments God was asking me if I trusted Him enough to ask for the thing that might very well kill me (at least according to those people’s advice).
It was a moment in time that felt as if it lasted forever and only for a second at the same time. What would the “patience lessons” look like? Would they really be as bad as people were telling me? Would they be easier? Would I cry every night? Or worse, would I beg God to let me out them?
Would I become more patient? Would I be a calmer person, who didn’t lose my temper and get frustrated so quickly? Would I be happier and filled with joy once I knew what it meant to wait patiently?
Even as I was weighing the pros and cons, that whisper in my heart that I’ve come to know as the Holy Spirit’s prompting call blew into my mind. I’m not exactly sure what the words were He whispered, because they weren’t audible. They were more of an impression and a sense of what God wanted me to do. It was really surreal how I could hear that quiet, whispery sense louder than all of the blaring questions pounding my brain.
The Holy Spirit was asking me: Do you believe God will help you improve this area of your life? Do you believe this is what He wants for you? Will you trust Him to do what’s best for you, even when everything you know about this situation looks very bleak indeed?
The question then became: How would I answer?
It was an instantaneous “Yes!”
So I prayed for patience. Night after night. When I eventually forgot to ask for patience, I would be reminded during especially difficult tutoring sessions or moments when I didn’t understand why certain people were upset with me. Then I’d start praying for patience again.
Eventually, I saw a change in myself. One that was hard to believe.
The same situations that usually had my temper boiling over in about three seconds now failed to get a rise out of me at all.
Talk about blowing my mind! I knew that metamorphosis could only come from God’s hand. It was a miracle. A modern-day miracle. Yes, they still exist. I know; I am one.
So here’s my advice for anyone out there who lacks patience:
- Weigh the pros and cons.
- Listen for the Holy Spirit’s prompting.
- Decide how much you’re willing to trust God.
- Step out in faith.
If you decide that you’re ready to face whatever “patience lessons” He might have in store for you, then ask Him to give you more patience.
But be warned: You might not like every lesson He sends you. But you will appreciate the end results and the miraculous change inside of you.
What about you? Have you ever prayed for patience?
Were the “patience lessons” harder or easier than you had originally imagined?
Have you noticed a miraculous change inside of you?