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Patience & Perseverance: Where Have They Gone?

 As a society, we have become accustomed to receiving things at a fast pace that we feel we are entitled to. When we need to go from one place to another, we can get an Uber driver to come pick us up. If that driver is even a minute or two minutes late, we become disgruntled about how our needs aren’t being met. When we are hungry, we can drive-thru a fast food establishment and have our dinner within minutes. Sometimes, we will even start eating the fries in the bag on the way home to fulfill the discontent and unsatisfied feeling we possess. Whenever we have a question that we don’t have an answer to, we have Siri in our pocket to save the day.

Why has our society transitioned into this addictive, faster-pace of living? Why do we constantly hear the phrases, “I want it now!” or “I can’t wait that long!” That’s because we expect instant gratification.

I have seen too many Christians recently fall away, because God has not answered their prayers in the timely-manner they feel they deserve. They expect instant results, and when God doesn’t answer their requests, in the way that they feel He should, they say, “There must not be a God, because he doesn’t answer my prayers.”

For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and his ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:12).

God always will hear our prayers. He just might not answer them in the way that we think He should. Sometimes, God won’t answer our prayers though. He knows what is best for us, and He knows exactly how much we can handle physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Our society has lost the discipline of practicing patience. Receiving immediate results has sometimes led to us as Christians, expecting God to change with how our society is changing. God has always been the same God from the beginning of time. He is a just God, a perfect God, and His creation is flawless. We need to have patience when it comes to making our requests known to God.

In 1 Samuel, Hannah was one of Elkanah’s two wives. Hannah was barren and not able to produce children for Elkanah. Not being able to fulfill this role for Elkanah made Hannah heartbroken and very distressed. On top of that, Elkanah’s other wife, Peninnah, was providing children to him and provoking Hannah year after year about how the Lord had closed Hannah’s  womb. Hannah prayed to God for a child and patiently waited for Him to fulfill her requests. God finally gave her Samuel, and she was rewarded for her patient trust in God. Hannah’s prayers were not answered immediately or even quickly for that matter; it took years for her to finally see an answer.

God ordered Noah to build an ark three hundred cubits in length, fifty cubits in width, and thirty cubits in height. Building anything of this magnitude had to have taken a long period of time to complete. Also building something of this magnitude probably attracted attention. I’m sure Noah faced  harassment  from  those who were corrupt  of  the earth and  dealt with many tribulations during the construction of the ark. God opened the floodgates of the sky in the 600th year of Noah’s life, in the 2nd month and 17th day. Noah wasn’t able to leave the ark until the 2nd month, 27th day of his 601st year of life. Noah and his family were on the ark for over a year. The patience Noah displayed during the laborious construction of the ark, and when being confined to an ark for that long, is pretty remarkable. Noah’s trust in God and his endurance to fulfill God’s commands are attributes that we need to replicate.

We are supposed to encounter trials and obstacles in our lives that will test our faith and patience. In Romans, Paul writes that as Christians, we are to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (12:12) Although being patient is sometimes construed as being passively waiting or being mildly tolerant to things, it’s really a more active term.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” (Hebrews 12:1 NKJV)

The word “endurance” in that verse can be replaced with “patience” or “perseverance” depending on what version you are reading. Does an athlete run a race by waiting for others to catch up or by being tolerant to those cheating? No! As Christians, we run the race of life by battling trials with patience and perseverance towards our eternal goal in heaven. Our God, who hears all of our pleas and requests, will be waiting for us at the finish line.

“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)

-  Reagan Corry