See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it… You also be patient.James 5:7b, 8a NKJV
Patience, it’s the gift no one wants, but everyone needs.
“It’s been so long and I’m so weary,” Nelson* spoke, leaning into his wife Betty’s* arm as she propped him up on the pillow. “I want to have faith, but I don’t know if I do anymore.”
I thought about the strain this must be on this gentleman to have borne the sickness for so long, seeing little improvement. Now, the doctors had told him to prepare for death because he had refused the latest round of antibiotics. He and those caring for him felt it was not productive to put his body through another ordeal seeing as every other round had not resulted in the infection being abated.
“If Jesus doesn’t heal, Nelson is going to…to…ddddd…” Betty spoke through trembling lips.
“Nelson,” I said, “your job is going to be to rest. That’s all. Lay your Bible on your chest and just rest. God is going to help you. Betty, our job is going to be to petition our Healer Jesus on Nelson’s behalf.”
Nelson sighed deeply as Betty and I began to petition the Lord. We weren’t going to accept defeat. We both knew Jesus was Healer, and we were expecting healing to manifest as a result of those prayers.
Two weeks later, Betty called to share the news. Nelson had been cleared by his doctor; the infection having left his body completely. Only God could have worked this fast—we knew Jesus had answered our prayer.
I thought about how simplistic our prayer had been. This had nothing to do with either of us; we only trusted the One who could do something for Nelson whose name was Jesus Christ. The prayer we spoke took minutes.
Why had it been a struggle for Nelson? He had been undergoing what Job had experienced. Nelson needed a respite because he had exercised patience for an extended period of time. He had endured while the sickness had raged on unabated. My thoughts wandered to a time I’d been so sick I laid my Bible on my frame and asked Jesus to activate all its promises while I rested. This memory is why I had asked Nelson to do the same.
Sometimes we are tired…
When we wait for an answer and it’s a long time coming, whether it’s for healing, or any number of life-challenges, the mere fact that we are waiting can be tough. We want a quick answer. But sometimes God asks us to have patience.
Even so, we can consider being called to exercise patience, a gift.
The Apostle James says “let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4b NKJV). During the times God asks us to wait, He causes our faith to grow and our resolve becomes steadfast in Him. When we have nothing left within ourselves to try, God becomes our trusted and only source. This is often the moment our breakthrough manifests.
Patience is a gift because it stirs community. When others are tired, our faith kicks in on their behalf. What better way is there to show love than to pray for our friends when they are hurting? Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a NKJV reads, “Two are better than one, for if they fall, one will lift up his companion.” Fellowshipping with like-minded believers draws us together as a faith family.
Patience builds us into fully equipped warriors, mature, and armed with every spiritual attribute of Ephesians 6:10-20. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever have my armor on—mine is messy—partially slid off, always needing an adjustment. But as the saying of Proverbs 27:17 NKJV goes, “iron sharpens iron” so I’m glad I can learn from friends who know the Word better than I do. I am glad God is working in me His image as I patiently trust the process.
Friend, let’s be willing to say, “Lord, let Your patience develop in me.”
Are you ready to treat patience as a gift?
Father God, thank You for the times You perfect me by calling me to exercise patience.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.