What an awful, gut-wrenching word. That “P-word” truly makes me anxious. Why on God’s green earth does patience have to be so necessary and important for success? Why couldn’t God make life one giant vending machine? Why couldn’t he make relationships like a fast food restaurant? Or careers like a quick iPhone update? The uncomfortable truth in life is that things that truly matter to you, often take time. There is a process involved for everything. Why? Because God is intentional and cares a great deal about details.
Think about coffee. In order for you to enjoy that pleasant ceramic mug of delicious, aromatic black coffee, your drug – I mean drink, needed to go through a process. First there had to be a seed planted, then the berries had to be harvested, then picked and dried, then someone had to mill and export the beans, then some dude has to roast the beans, then they grind the beans, then some body brews the coffee, and lastly your lucky soul gets to sip it preciously in the hope of having a dose of energy for a few minutes. Each tedious part of that process played an essential role in forming the perfect cup of coffee that so many would get to enjoy. I truly believe that God is roasting us like coffee. God is taking his time to create a masterpiece of caffeine and He just wants us to relax and enjoy the process.
What no one wants to admit is that we learn an incredible lot about ourselves during process. When we pray for things and God takes a while to answer them, he is building character within us. He gives you time to discover why you want what you want, what you intend to do with it, and how you will sustain it. Often times in the waiting, we actually realize that we don’t really want what we thought we wanted in the first place. It sounds cliché but often times, God is waiting to give you something better in store.
When it comes to my personal prayer life, I try to remember two Biblical realities: 1.) God is the Perfect Father, and 2.) “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). Once you can accept those truths and live in that perspective, it makes it much easier to trust the process. When you can trust that God is transforming you into a sweet latte, suddenly the grinding process becomes much more bearable. Of course the grinding still hurts, but maybe you can take the time to smell the coffee and feel the different textures and enjoy the beauty of your grinding. When God is with you, you can find beauty in anything.
“Bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”
- Isaiah 61:3 –
What is God teaching you in this season? What has he made you passionate about and why do you think those dreams are there? How is he calling you to love people better? These are all things to ponder while in the process. Then when God places you in positions of influence, you hopefully would have absorbed enough wisdom and knowledge to be able to represent Him well.
I love looking at the relationship between Jesus and his disciples. Their interactions give me hope as I realize how patient Jesus was with them. Jesus invested three years of daily life with his disciples and saw all of their many recorded faults. What amazes me though, is that not only did Jesus continue to trust them, but also he empowered them! James and John legit tried to call fire down on unrepentant towns and Jesus just offered gentle rebuke and then commissioned them for even more ministry (Read Luke 9:54-10:12)! The character of the disciples before Pentecost was nowhere near Christ-like. And I doubt any elders of today’s churches would have made them pastors of a local church, yet Jesus still looked at Peter in the eyes and said, “You are the rock and on this rock I will build my church.” (Matthew 16:18) Jesus was invested in their process and was aware of the destiny each disciple carried. If Jesus was patient with them, that means he is patient with us. We just need to learn to be patient with ourselves.