Impatience is an emotion that almost everyone experiences and deals with in a different way. Impatient drivers might honk their horns, parents may yell, children may throw things, or say angry words. None of these reactions are good. God wants us to learn to be patient. So let’s open our Bibles and see what God has to say about being impatient.
Why is impatience wrong? Impatience leads to anger. It’s in the Bible, “Stop your anger! Turn off your wrath. Don’t fret and worry – it only leads to harm” (Psalms 37:8, TLB). It is easy to say something unkind or do something unkind when you are impatient and angry. There are also consequences to our impatience, such as an argument or a fight. When Moses became impatient, he reacted in anger and was not able to enter the Promised Land. (See Numbers, chapter 20)
What can I do when I am feeling impatient? The answer in the Bible may surprise you! This is what it says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials for we know that they are good for us -- they help us learn to be patient” (Romans 5:3, TLB). Did you get that? Paul, who was stoned by religious leaders, shipwrecked, beaten by soldiers with a whip and much more, says to rejoice when bad things happen to you. James wrote, “For when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete” (James 1:3,4).
The Bible also says to “Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for Him to act. Don’t be envious of evil men who prosper” (Psalms 37:7, TLB). In other words, God will take care of the evil people, so don’t be impatient or angry about what others have done. “Only a little while and the wicked shall disappear. You will look for them in vain. But all who humble themselves before the Lord shall be given every blessing, and you shall have wonderful peace” (Psalms 37:10-11, TLB).
I feel impatient so often. What can God do for me? Take heart that you are not the only one! But God has an answer. It’s in the Bible, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV). Patience comes when we continually ask for God to fill our lives so we can live like Him.
I need encouragement to remain patient and faithful to God when things are going bad. Take courage from God’s promises which urge us to trust in Jesus all the way until the end. “Let this encourage God’s people to endure patiently every trial and persecution, for they are his saints who remain firm to the end in obedience to his commands and trust in Jesus.”(Revelation 14:12, TLB).
Are God’s people supposed to treat each other with patience? Yes! “Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” (Ephesians 4:2, TLB). King Solomon gave this practical advice, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1, NIV).
What is the promise to those who are patient? “Then, knowing what lies ahead for you, you won’t become bored with being a Christian, nor become spiritually dull and indifferent, but you will be anxious to follow the example of those who receive all that God has promised them because of their strong faith and patience” (Hebrews 6:12, TLB). We will continually grow in faith and patience. We will never be bored following Jesus.
I want Jesus to come quickly. Why should I be patient for that? It’s in the Bible, “Now as for you, dear brothers who are waiting for the Lord’s return, be patient, like a farmer who waits until the autumn for his precious harvest to ripen. Yes, be patient. And take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near” (James 5:7-8, TLB).