Patience- The Hardest Lesson to Learn

Posted: February 23, 2007 in Bible Study, Biblical Topics, Biblical Weight Loss, Christianity, Religion, Spiritual Struggle, Virtues, Weight loss

I have heard it said often “don’t pray for patience- you might get what you ask for.” So for a long time I always left that request out of my prayers. Night after night I implored God for wisdom, good health, a happy family, etc. but not patience. I didn’t want to be tried, I didn’t want to wait. I grew up in the American culture of immediate gratification. Why should I (we) wait on anything?

But confronted with the reality that I face a major crossroads in my life my view changed completely. I recently obtained my Masters in History and now several paths (each with several pros and cons) have opened up for me- but I am getting ahead of myself.

When I was getting ready to graduate I didn’t see any paths open for me. I had three applications out at graduate institutions for Ph.D. programs in American History. However, I faced the harsh reality that my undergraduate G.P.A.- a lowly 2.7- could prevent me from the goal I’ve worked so hard to reach. You see, if I may digress, despite my law school G.P.A. of 3.29 (top 20%) and my graduate school G.P.A. of 3.87, I could still be denied admission. The simple fact is that undergraduate G.P.A. is (for some odd reason) weighted much more heavily than later academic work.

Okay, so maybe I might not get into any Ph.D. programs, but can’t I teach something. I mean between my Bachelors, my law degree, and my Masters I should be able to teach somewhere. Well that seemed like a futile quest. Most colleges won’t take you UNLESS you have a Ph.D. And if you think that means you just have to teach at the public school level- wrong! Public schools won’t take you since you lack the proper certifications- darn those unions! Trust me on that, I sent out over 60 resumes and didn’t get a SINGLE call back for an interview. Heck, I even applied for some teaching assistant positions and heard NOTHING!

So in desperation I sent out applications to as many community colleges as I could find and had no clue what would happen. I was so stressed out that I started getting myself literally sick with worry. So there I was, getting ready to receive my diploma, but with no real prospects.

However, as a committed Christian I know that when troubling times come we turn to God in prayer and read his word with diligence. We even went on step further- my wife and I fasted for 36 hours- the whole time seeking God’s guidance in prayer. Still we waited. God hadn’t opened a path, but he had given me a level of peace with my circumstances I had never known before. He lifted the worries from my shoulders and allowed me to accept that I had done all I could- the rest was in his hands.

The change has been amazing. In addition to the benefit of not stressing out over something I have almost no control over, God has granted me opportunities0 multiple opportunities. Not only have I been accepted to AT LEAST one Ph.D. program, I have been offered a teaching job at a local community college. The only curve ball is that the Ph.D. program is in Greensboro (a 2 hour drive from our home) and the community college job is about 45 minutes in the opposite direction. However, I still have one application out at a graduate school ONLY 15 minutes from the community college I would be teaching at- the ideal situation from my perspective. However, God’s perspective is what matters.

So all of you who read this who are prayer warriors please include this in your prayers. I am asking the Lord to open the doors to this last graduate institution (UNC Chapel Hill), but if that isn’t His will, then of course, let His will be done in my life. Whatever may happen I know I can have confidence in the Lord. He has a plan for me (and for you) if I am willing to turn it all over to Him. I have trusted in Him many times before, and He has never let me down. I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me and my family.

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If you are having trouble with waiting on the Lord, these are some biblical accounts you might want to consider. These accounts are examples of men and women who waited or failed to wait on the Lord.

First, think of Noah, as he waited multiple times. Noah not only waited in the ark for the waters so subside, but he waited as he built the ark. How odd that must have been for Noah to build an ark when there was no reason- other than God’s word- to believe that the world would face a cataclysmic flood. But Noah built the ark diligently, as the Word says, “Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.” Noah was an exemplar when it came to waiting. He continued to wait over 40 days as the flood continued; he waited over 150 days as the water subsided; he waited 54 days as land the water continued to subside, and at least one dove came back to him finding NO place to land. How wonderful it must have been when at last the dove came back with a freshly plucked olive leaf.

Lesson: Not only is it comforting to wait on the Lord, it is glorious to see the Lord work, and the outcome is more than we could have expected. There is peace in waiting and joy in fulfillment of the Lord’s promises.

On the contrary, compare the Israelites fresh out of Egypt.

When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him. Exodus 32:1

They failed to wait on God and Moses, as they met on Sinai. Their lack of patience led them to rebel against God, to create an idol (similar to those in Egypt), and even to worship that idol.

Lesson: When we fail to wait on the Lord we often end up worshipping idols- whether it be an overinflated view of our own abilities or we just plain rebel against God’s will in our lives.

Patience in the Lord is so important. For what is the Christian’s hope based on other than waiting? Paul wrote, and we believe, that

[H]e will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Romans 9:28.

We await our blessed hope, with faith in the Lord, that He will fulfill this promise. And as John wrote at the close of Revelations, so should we say

Come, Lord Jesus.

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Comments
  1. Denis E. Ambrose, Jr. says:

    Thank you.

  2. jonathan says:

    I was just contemplating the idea of talking about patience in seeking God in my church discipleship training and i came upon your testimony. I hope you came to a good decision on your teaching. Thank you so much for putting this online it has just opened up different possibilities for me. God Bless you

  3. […] by totaltransformation on August 3rd, 2007 This will be a new series similar to my old posts on patience and pride.  I still stand behind my old posts, but I think enough remains to be written that I […]

  4. […] the sake of reminiscing, let’s look back at topics and issues I have blogged about: virtues (patience and charity), the anti-virtue pride, faith, how we pray, reaping what we sow, the wisdom of […]

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