I am pretty good at a some things, but being patient is far from one of them. Whether it’s being stuck in traffic or being placed on hold or standing in a security line, I am often very impatient!
Bearing this in mind, I was reminded of a time when my wife, Denisse, landed at the local clinic. She had been showing crazy symptoms for a couple of months. Finally, after Denisse got violently sick, she finally decided to drive herself to the emergency room. I had to sit and wait for her response while working.
That day work was busy, I must of had 100 meetings, so I sat for more than four hours before getting a word back from Denisse. She said the doctor ordered some tests, but you know how that goes: more waiting. The elongated ordeal seemed like it would never end.
If you haven’t experienced a similar circumstance. We will all have various points our lives, we’re all waiting for something important. Perhaps you are waiting for:
- A phone call for our new job opportunity
- An email or phone call about a contract or promotion
- Your pregnancy test results
- The judge’s decision on your court case
- A financial breakthrough
- Mr. or Ms. Right to show up
- For God to answer a prayer
- For physical healing to manifest
What can You do When Forced to Wait?
While I’m not the greatest at waiting, God, has helped me so much, I have gotten a lot better. Here are five approaches I am currently using:
- Embrace the wait. Nothing happens by accident, but by God’s divine providence. In essence, everything happens for a reason. If I am waiting, there is something for me to learn. Waiting is truly a gift. The beauty of patience shouldn’t be wasted.
- Ask the right questions. Make them life-giving rather than life-killing. A life-killing question would be “Why are they so slow?” or even “Why can’t they light a match under it and hurry?” A life-giving question is “What can I learn in this moment while I’m waiting?” or “How could this season of waiting build my character?”
- Buy the time back. The opportunity is limitless if you are prepared. This is why I rarely go anywhere without my Bible, and laptop. Worst case, I can read the Word of God or be productive on my computer.
- Encourage the next person you come across. I believe this one is better than the last. There’s no greater way to please God, than to get all the attention off yourself. One of my favorite books ‘The Purpose Driven Life.’ by Rick Warren starts with the four most beautiful words, “It’s not about me.” Encouraging someone else while I am waiting doesn’t solve all of my own problems, of course. But it makes me lose sight of myself, and feel like I’m at least doing what I’m called to do, loving my neighbor —and making a positive contribution.
- Trust God. This is the most important key to being patient. This can often be tough, but the good news is that God has not forgotten about you or me. He not only knows exactly what we need; He knows when we need it. He knows us and loves us deeply. His timing is perfect. I like how Jesus showed up in the story about Lazarus. It looked like He was two days late. His friend had died. But He arrived right on time—for what He desired to do.
Back to Denisse. The outcome of all those tests was that we were expecting a baby boy, and of course we had to patiently await his arrival. When it comes to patience, I’ve learned a lot, but I still have a lot to learn. It’s not easy for me, but I certainly get plenty of opportunities to improve!
This article was written by Rashawn Copeland who is the co-founder of Without Walls Ministries, along with his wife Denisse.
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