Confession: In a recent season of prayer, I began to point out to God just how faithful I had been, sort of reminding God, I guess, of what a "good, trusting servant" I had been up to that point: "Lord, I've trusted you with my life, with my heart, with my whole being…I need to learn how to wait patiently on You…"
Instantly, I felt God speak into my spirit, very softly, very gently…
"If you really do trust Me with these things, as you say you do, then patience will come naturally to you. You'll have no problem waiting on me if you really trust Me."
God has spoken to me at other times, and I feel comfortable with His voice, so I knew it was Him. I must say, however, that I'd never heard His voice so gentle, so caring, so much like a Father to a child as He was to me at that precise moment.
Immediately following that prayer, I felt God reveal something about "patience" that I'd never realized before. Allow me to share what I felt in my heart:
Patience is a natural by-product of trust. When we trust God, we have no problem waiting patiently on Him; neither the direction nor the duration of the journey will sway us from following after Him.
I look at the life of Abraham—one of my favorite heroes of Scripture—and I see an absolute trust in a God whom he (Abraham) didn't even know. How was it possible for Abraham to pack up his household, his belongings, his family and servants, and follow this unknown voice, this unknown God into a land he'd only heard of? To make the story even more interesting, God spoke to Abraham and said, "Follow me to a land that I'll show you..." God didn't even tell Abraham where he was going; He simply said, "I'll let you know when you get there."
What an absolute display of complete, unadulterated trust! Yet I believe it was that trust that kept Abraham walking with God for all those years, all those miles, through all the hardships that he faced along the way. Genesis 15:6 confirms this by telling us "And [Abraham] believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness."
Did Abraham make some mistakes along the way? Of course. There are a couple of almost-laughable boneheaded blunders that come to mind—the result of Abraham's trust momentarily wavering. And in that brief wavering of his trust in God, Abraham grew impatient, and tried to make something happen on his own that God had already promised would come to pass. Yet in spite of those blunders, in spite of trying to get ahead of God and figure out how this was all supposed to happen, Abraham continued to trust and obey. And continue the journey.
I've told my wife on many occasions, it would be interesting to hear some of the conversations that Abraham and Sarah must have had during those years they followed God...Abraham following God, and Sarah blindly following Abraham. Were there times that Abraham (or Sarah) questioned? I think so, for in spite of his brilliant display of trust and faith, Abraham was still human. But the patience he exhibited throughout the course of his life, his walk with God, his blind trust in a God he didn't even have a name for...I believe this is what ultimately caused God Himself to refer to this mortal man as "Abraham, my friend" (Isa. 41:8)
Patience. I'm not overly endowed with it, I admit. And it doesn't help that today's culture is so frantic, so fast-paced, so advanced—yet so hurried—that everything should happen at the flip of a switch, or push of a button.
Understand, I'm not necessarily referring to standing in the "slow line" at the bank, or the grocery store, or being stuck in rush-hour traffic. But patience with God's control of my life, my situation, my crisis-of-the-day... This sort of patience can only come as a result of my absolute trust in Him.
One of the most valuable lessons I ever learned—yet one that I have to constantly remind myself of—was simply this: God is more concerned with the direction you're going than with the speed in which you arrive.
Keep patiently waiting. Walk with God, and become His friend.