I am not a patient person. Patience seems passive, weak, and even irresponsible in some situations. At the very least it seems like an incomplete answer to problems. Have you ever had someone say something like this: “You just have to be patient, it will work out.” I have, and it drives me crazy.
Yet, I know it is a biblical idea. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. This means that one of the very basic things that the Holy Spirit will do in you is to inspire patience. In Romans, Paul calls us to be patient in tribulation. If you have ever been to a wedding you know that love is patient (1 Corinthians 13:4). So, patience is obviously an important aspect of the Christian life: of getting through hard times, or even being able to love someone or God fully.
Recently, while reading Future Grace by John Piper, I have come across some new ideas about patience that have really helped me.
The first idea is incredibly convicting. Piper says this:
“Impatient people are weak, and therefore dependent on external supports- like schedules that just go right and circumstances that support their fragile hearts.”
According to Piper, impatience is no small issue. It is a matter of the heart and evidence of a weak heart.
How can we leave this place of fragile hearts that are so dependent on our circumstances going well? Piper would say the key is having faith in future grace. That means, by believing the gospel is true, and that God’s promises are true, we can face whatever circumstance we currently have with joy and patience. The key to patience is not a simple ‘everything will be okay’ assurance. The key is deeply believing that if God would kill his son for us, he will also give us everything that we need, when we need it. That everything that happens to us is actually for his kingdom and for our good. The deeper we believe the gospel, the more capacity we have for patience in both our circumstances and in our daily lives.