My two-year old niece proclaims, “patience is waiting with a happy heart.” Apparently, I gave her mother the book In This House, We Will Giggle by Courtney DeFeo. (DeFeo, Courtney. “Chapter 5,” In this House, We Will Giggle: Making Virtues, Love, and Laughter a Daily Part of Your Family Life, WaterBrook Press, 2014, p. 97) My family studied one virtue a month from this book, but I’m pretty sure we need a remedial course.
We all need what we want and we need it now, and I’m left thanking God for Amazon Prime and two-day shipping. But it’s not just things—we want answers, results instantaneously. The world is interested in instant results—the faster the better, but as Christians aren’t we supposed to be content with God’s timing?
I recently began studying John’s Gospel to prepare to teach Middle School Sunday School. (My students would probably prefer that I spend my time purchasing more candy to encourage participation.) By the way, if you want to practice patience, work with middle schoolers. I’m reading each chapter in the Message and the New International Version.
In the second chapter of the Message version, Jesus says to his mother, “This is not my time. Don’t push me.” (John 2:4)
Something about Jesus telling his mother to be patient struck me. Isn’t Jesus all the time telling me to wait? “This isn’t your time. When it happens in My time, My way, it will be so much better than you ever imagined, and you will give God the glory.”
But, fellow tiger moms don’t you know Mary wanted to respond: “Are you serious? I know who you are and where you came from. People have been gossiping about me for years. Show them what you can do.” And Jesus did give her a miracle, turning water into wine, but only the servants knew about it. Amazing, I think if I performed a miracle, it’d be all over Facebook and Twitter in about a minute, but not our Lord. He knew that God planned everything with perfect timing for maximum impact.
And in chapter seven, Jesus’ brothers prod him to “show himself to the world.” (NIV John 7:4)
But Jesus responds, “The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast because for me the right time has yet to come.” (NIV John 7:6-8) Jesus stood strong, waiting for His time. Having faith in God’s perfect plan.
I don’t know about you, but I can be patient for a while, but then I’m ready to make things happen. Surely, God needs me to move things along—maybe that’s His plan. Probably not, but oh, the waiting. Friends we can’t do it on our own.
When I get to this place, I know the only answer is prayer. I need God’s strength to fight my impatience. And if I’m honest with myself, which I loathe, I know that my impatience is just a manifestation of my lack of faith. But I know “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (NIV Hebrews 11:1). God is refining me and making me into the writer, mother, teacher, wife that can best serve His kingdom, and with Jesus’ help, I can be patient. (Even right this second, when my boys are screaming at each other in the other room over a game of Risk. Ahhhh. Breathe.)
God’s timing brings the best for His kingdom. I find this perspective freeing because it isn’t about me, it’s about Him. Who are you serving God or the world? For whose glory are you living? Friends, go to God, ask for discernment, and then yes, “wait with a happy heart.”
© 2017 Leslie DeVooght