When God seems to ask too much of us, we…
Deep inside, many of us think, “I don’t like being patient.”
But patience, it turns out, is a HUGE deal. In fact, focusing on patience is a fitting conclusion to this 5-part series.
The KEY to Making Time Your Friend
Patience is actually the KEY to making time your friend. It’s key to making God’s work in our lives work for us.
As the Bible teaches us:
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient” (James 5:7-8).
And endurance [which is closely related to patience, by the way] produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:4).
Patience is defined as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”
I like that definition a lot. It’s simple. It points to three things that challenge our patience: 1) delay, 2) trouble, 3) suffering.
Who wants to be angry and upset all the time? That’s awful! But we do it to ourselves all the time when we become impatient, “angry and upset.” (There are many more negative consequences of an impatient lifestyle).
A Mental Trick: Our Daily 24-Hour Cube
Check out this great little trick that puts “patience” in a whole new light.
Fire up your most vivid imagination as you read this and you’ll never forget it:
When you woke up this morning, your soul entered a cube that we call a “day.” It would be harsh to call it a prison cell. But it is, in a way.
Right now, you and I are in a 24-hour cube that is more inescapable than the most secure compartment in any government facility in the world.
You walk into a brand new, custom-made cube every morning when you awake. None is like the one you were in before. God plans and shapes each cube just for you.
Each day is made of glass that’s heavily frosted in front of you. You see only vague shadows and lightened areas when you look forward.
Behind you, everything is crystal clear as you peer into the “day cubes” of your past.
You can only work, draw, type, eat, walk, run, play, hug someone, pray to God, or do anything else inside “today’s cube.”
Pressing our faces to the front of the frosted, blurry glass to peek ahead does no good at all. It only wastes precious time within our “day.” Nobody—not even H.G. Wells and his time machine—ever escaped their 24-hour cube.
God’s Daily Lessons: Blessings and Challenges from on High
Now notice a large opening at the top of the cube and realize that God inserts (or allows) various good things, problems, and painful things right into your cube.
You look over to your right and see someone who’s not happy in their cube, shaking his fist up at God.
You look to your left and see someone hiding from a problem in the back corner of their cube, straining to see the days long past that seemed easier.
Hour by hour, God inserts an infinite variety of blessings and problems into the vast array of cubes that spread across the whole face of the earth, for the benefit of His children.
A Series of Problems
Why did God design it this way? It’s all about FOCUS.
Our 24-hour cubes are God’s daily drills and lessons; we are stuck inside to help us focus on the things that God designed for us at this exact time in our life.
I like how Rick Warren expressed it:
“Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort. . . The goal is to grow in character, in Christlikeness.” (See full article)
The THREE Beliefs that Make It Easier to Be Patient
- Believe the fact that you can only do things today. Sound silly? Imagine the foolishness of standing with your face smooshed against the front of your cube most of the day or sitting tearfully crouched at the rear of your cube looking into the “good old days”—instead of really focusing on today, while God keeps dropping blessings in your cube that you ignore or challenges that you run away from.
- Believe the fact that God will hand you good things through the hole in the top when it’s in your best interest to receive them. You cannot and will not ever control what comes through that opening. And the challenging things will come when He wants to send them and it’s always in your best interest.
- Believe that God is smarter than you are and He knows what is best.
Honestly believing and accepting these three facts makes it much easier to be patient because they expose the self-defeating games we play inside the God-given cubes that we call “today.”
Blessings of Patience
Look at the BLESSINGS that come when we accept God’s timing for the good, the bad, and the ugly that come into our cubes “today.”
- I’ve discovered that living at peace in my 24-hour cube has been liberating and energizing, freeing me from the frustration of trying to do the impossible. (Namely, trying to live outside of today or rush to tomorrow or head back for yesterday.)
- Living at peace in my cube strengthens my faith and humility before God, accepting that He is in control.
- I feel the presence of God more completely as I live in His plan for my day instead of trying to work around it.
If you enjoyed this post, here are the others in this series.
- Look at time like God does.
- Live in the present moment.
- Know that God is preparing your future.
- Understand what it means to “wait on the Lord.”
- There’s a Trick to Becoming Patient (Here It Is)
Much love, my friends!
Estimated Reading Time:
4 -5 minutes