When I was little, I thought patience was waiting in line with my mom at the grocery store. WITHOUT complaining. WITHOUT bugging my brother. WITHOUT causing a ruckus. Easy, right? Wrong. I was never good at being patient.
Ha. And I thought that was hard.
My dear friend Mr. Webster defines the word "patient" in the following ways:
1. bearing pains or trials calmly and without complaint
2. manifesting forbearance under provocation and strain (that's one of those definitions where you have to look up more words just to figure out what the one word means
3. not hasty or impetuous
4. steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity
The first definition is the one most people think of, including me as a kid. Waiting in line, waiting in traffic. The second definition basically means putting up with people when they annoy you. Like how my mom had to be patient with me when I was impatient at the grocery store (haha). Those are the definitions just about everybody knows.
The third definition gets a little deeper. "Impetuous" means "marked by impulsive vehemence or passion". In other words, a very impetuous person acts on their impulses without consulting anyone or anything else. Everybody has impulses, but patient people are patient enough NOT to act on them right away.
The fourth one is my favorite. In a way, patience is synonymous with endurance. Usually we think of this opposition, difficulty, or adversity as being time, as in the time it takes to wait in line. Sometimes it's the annoyance someone else is causing us. But in actuality, a perfectly patient person is able to overcome any obstacle to get to their goal, no matter what it is.
Patience is a big deal to God. We are to run with patience the race that is set before us (Heb. 12:1 KJV). Love is patient (1 Cor. 13:4 NASB). Patience is listed among the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22 NASB). Abraham gained everything God had promised him because he waited patiently (Heb. 6:15). We are supposed to be patient and wait upon the Lord (Isa. 40:31, Ps. 130:5).
This song pretty well sums things up. I didn't write it, I'm not taking credit for it, nobody sue me please!
Teach Me, Lord, to Wait
Teach me Lord to wait
Down on my knees
'Til in your own good time
You'll answer my pleas
Teach me not to rely
On what others do
But to wait in prayer
For an answer from you
Teach me Lord to wait
While hearts are aflame
Help me humble my pride
And call on your name
Keep my faith renewed
Keep my eyes on thee
Let me be on this earth
What you want me to be
They that wait upon the Lord
Shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings as an eagle
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not faint
Teach me Lord, Teach me Lord to wait