Not everything in life can wait, and sometimes we grow impatient when we have tasks outstanding nearing deadlines. We get frustrated when we fail to meet our targets, and we take short cuts to make ends meet, which often fall short of required expectation. This behavior is not something new. It has happened before, a long time ago, in the history of Israel.
Now he [Saul] waited seven days, according to the appointed time set by Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, "Bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offerings." And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; (1 Samuel 13:8-10a NAS) Saul, in his impatience, disobeyed God and took upon himself the task of offering sacrifices to God without Samuel, which cost him his position as king of Israel (1 Samuel 13:13-14a). Although it was disobedience that cost Saul his kingdom, it was impatience that caused Saul to disobey.
Impatience is expensive and the consequence may be more than we can imagine. Impatience frequently forces us to do things before considering the outcome, and as a result we fail to fulfill the intended purpose.
The Bible mentioned another man, who unlike Saul, waited patiently for the Lord.
And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said, "Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation, (Luke 2:25-30 NAS) Although the Bible does not record how long Simeon waited before he saw the consolation of Israel which was the birth of Christ, we can assume it must have been for a period of time. This account of Simeon is a good example of what it means to wait patiently for the fulfillment of God's purpose in our lives. It does not mean, however, that we are to simply wait without doing anything. Rather, it means we should prepare and pave the way towards fulfilling the purpose of God patiently, just as the disciples waited to be "clothed with power from on high" before Pentecost (Luke 24:49 NAS).
Patience and impatience are all about setting our priorities right. Too often, we live our lives in constant rush because we are too conscious of lost time. We live our lives in frustration when things do not get done on time or when someone or something delays our time. Every minute counts in our lives, but what matters most is really what counts in our lives. Paul understands this point when he said:
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, (Philippians 5:7-8 NAS) Impatience has always been a snare to human lives, and sometimes, even faithful servants of God fall prey. In the real world, impatience does nothing to help get things done, but does a lot in causing harm. We must therefore learn to take account of time in meeting our targets and deadlines, to set our priorities right, and not grow impatient, which can harm our lives.
Keep us calm O Lord
And still our hearts to know
Your presence here with us
Wherever we may go
Help us be patient Lord
Help us keep our cool
Help us in everything
Remember to honor You
Lead us Lord in all we do
Help us completely put our trust in You
For You alone are righteous and faithful
Abounding in lovingkindness unchanging and true
Copyright 2008 EDMOND NG. All rights reserved. Permission is granted for the reprint of this article with acknowledgement only.
The author writes online for various Christian communities, and is a freelance writer and journalist for print and digital media.
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