Today’s reading: John 8. The truth will set you free.
“There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. And his wife was barren and had no children. And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son.”
Judges 13:2-3 ESV
We all struggle with questions like, “How long, Lord, will you ask me to wait? Why me? Why this? Why now?” As we press God for an answer, we try to remind ourselves that we belong to the God “who acts for those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4). But we feel that this waiting is forced upon us, and we wrestle with it. Wouldn’t a good God lift this oppressive burden? Why doesn’t he? When will he?
We pray, we groan, we cry to the only one who can act for us, but no matter where we turn, just like Job, we cannot see him anywhere around us (Job 23:3, 8–9). He seems silent, and we try to fight down the fear that he might not fulfill this desire. We fret that he won’t come through for us. We fuss about what life might look like stretching out before us with this unfulfilled longing still beating in our heart. We wonder if it is a sin to keep longing, to keep praying, crying, groaning. How do we live well in that waiting space between asking and receiving?
That’s where patience comes in — patience both with our own personal faith and with the God who calls us into this patience-producing faith.
Patience is not quite the same as waiting. While waiting is something we do, patience is something we offer. We wait because we must — we have little choice in the matter. But patience is our gift to our Father while we wait. In the silence, in the waiting, patience chooses to declare, “Lord, I love you. I know I don’t love you as I ought, but I want to love you more than your answer to my prayers. I will try to offer you my patient heart as long as you ask me to wait on this.”
Patience is loving God enough to say, “Thank you,” even for the difficult things. True patience, throughout the life-altering and soul-shattering experiences between birth and heaven, is a humble gift we offer up to God. And he is the one who enables us to offer him that gift.
Paul tells us that it is the might of his glory that strengthens us with all power “for all endurance and patience with joy” (Colossians 1:11). Ultimately, patience is the risen Christ living in us as we proclaim, “If I have Jesus, I have all that I need.”
Father, if I have Jesus I have all that I need.