Developing Godly Character: Patience

We live in a world where most people expect things right away. We have microwaves that make our meals in only a few minutes.  We enjoy fast food, express lanes in the grocery store, instant streaming of movies, we have instant foods ranging from instant coffee to instant rice.  We become frustrated when life isn’t so instant and we find ourselves in a traffic jam, delayed by road construction, waiting for a table at a restaurant or waiting in a doctor’s office. I wonder if we have forgotten a very important element of Godly character.  What is it?  It’s patience, which the dictionary defines as, the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

In Acts, chapter 7, we are reminded of the story of Moses.  At one point Moses killed an Egyptian who was mistreating an Israelite.  Moses fled the country and lived in the land of Midian.  Now…watch verse 30.  Here’s the first sentence: Forty years later, in the desert near Mount Sinai, an angel appeared to Moses in the flame of a burning bush.

Most of us focus on that miracle in the burning bush but miss the first part of the sentence.  Moses waited forty years between the time he left Egypt to the time we next learn of God speaking to him.  Don’t you just wonder if Moses questioned for those forty years whether God would ever use him after killing the Egyptian? There was nothing instant in this for Moses.  Even after his experience with the burning bush and being placed in leadership of the Israelites, Moses wandered in the wilderness with his people for another forty years.

Eighty years waiting upon God had to be a refining time for Moses to develop patience.  There is no mention in scripture that Moses tried to hurry God along during these eighty years.  Moses simply did what God asked him to do.  No pushing, no complaining, just dealing with the issues in life as they came up.  Moses had patience that comes only through trusting God.

So what does this mean for us today?  Let’s take some time and simply trust God and by doing so develop patience.  Let’s stop pushing God, begging for an instant answer to our prayers and understand that God doesn’t reveal all things to us instantly. We don’t need to always be in control.  Relax and allow God to develop more patience in you.  You will become a better spouse, employee, church member, friend, and community member.  Enjoy your relationship with God as a home cooked meal…not as a bowl of instant soup.

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