Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. -James 1:2-4 NIV
We wait in queues for practically everything. Amusement park rides. Supermarket tills. Celebrity autographs (especially football players). Traffic queues trying to get to your next destination.
Being patient while we wait is not easy. Especially when someone cuts in the line. Or the driver behind you moves out to pass you and get back in the queue further ahead. Or the celebrity leaves because he has to go somewhere else and you are left standing cold.
Waiting in queues is frustrating, boring, and annoying. Unless of course you are the fortunate ones at the beginning of the queue and have been there since 5 a.m.
When my children were young, I taught them a song to the tune of “Farmer in the Dell.” The words are, “Be patient while you wait. Be patient while you wait. Don’t lose your temper or complain. Be patient while you wait.” We sang this in the car, in queues, pretty much anytime tempers began to flare whilst waiting.
The words to the little song have basic truths for us to remember in life. Especially when things go wrong.
Waiting on God is not much easier. We can get frustrated, bored and annoyed at him as well. We want him to answer our prayers now. We want everything in life to be smooth, great, with no problems.
We ask God for the perfect job, spouse, car, place to live, family, health, etc.
We live in a world where life isn’t as squeaky clean as we may want. The enemy does everything he can do destroy us. Bankruptcy. A health diagnosis which changes your life. Divorce. Vehicle crashes. Miscarriages. Redundancy.
Jesus told us several times in the Gospels this would happen. Yet, he also says in John 16:33, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
We can have peace whilst we wait. We can have joy and perseverance as James says in chapter 1 verses 2-4.
How can we?
I can only share from my own personal experience…
As you know I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue/ME, and neuropathy. I also have other health problems such as psoriasis, eczema, chronic rhinitis, and anxiety/depression. Doctors and specialists keep telling me there’s nothing they can do other than medicate me. Basically, I just have to live with these things.
I have prayed and prayed about all of this. At first, I got angry with God and complained. I didn’t feel any better from getting angry. Actually, all I did was complain about the symptoms and my situation to other people and this didn’t help either.
Then God challenged me in my quiet time with him to give him thanks for all that he has done. For a whole year, I wrote down something in a journal of things I was thankful for. I enjoyed doing this so much I now I have a 1,000 plus gifts journal I write in (inspired by Ann Voskamp).
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 have been my life verses for the past 3 years, focusing on thanksgiving, prayer, and joy. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
When I started praising God despite of my circumstances, joy flooded my soul. Gratitude changes my attitude. I began to see life differently. Yes, from time to time, I still have a moan about my aches and pains, I am still human after all, but I have learnt to be joyful in the midst of my circumstances.
My situation has not changed. I I am still waiting on a miracle. However, in the process, God has been healing deep seated wounds in my soul. He is recreating me from the inside out.
Praising God whilst waiting puts my focus on God and not on my circumstances. Praise has been making a massive difference in my spirit.
Instead of grumbling and complaining, I am resting in the Almighty, with my eyes fixed on him. Even if I am not physically healed here on earth, I can rest assured I’m in the palm of God’s hands.
Yes, let’s be patient while we wait. Don’t lose our temper or complain. Be patient while wait. Then that patience and “perseverance will finish its work so we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Prayer: Father God, I have to admit it’s hard for me to be patient whilst I wait for you. I tend to lose my temper and complain. I am sorry for not trusting you and focusing on my problems. Please help me to be joyful and praise you despite my circumstances. Help me to rest in you. May my eyes be focused on you and may I be willing to be changed from the inside out whilst I wait. In Jesus’ name, Amen.