Early in my Christian walk. I decided not to pray for patience and here’s why: patience is mostly developed through hardship. Even the Apostle Paul agrees with me (or more accurately, I agree with him):
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience.” Romans 5:3 (AKJV). More about the glorying later.
You may justifiably disagree with me that it takes hard times to develop patience, because it’s true, some folks are simply more patient by nature; that deep willingness to wait for good results in a difficult situation, however, rarely comes easily to most of us. An on-line definition of patience is “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.” Oops, I’m still learning.
In looking for an example of patience, I don’t need to look further than out my living room window; after all, this is pet country. There seem to be fewer and fewer of us folks who don’t own and walk dogs on a regular basis but I’ve learned a lot from simply watching and listening. For example, “heel” is a word I hear regularly, then watch as owners teach their animals to keep their safe and useful place.
Back to the part about glorying in tribulation. That lesson has taken a lot longer to learn but it’s been a valuable one: an attitude of surrender to the will of God, even when it hurts, develops genuine patience and willingness to let Him work out His plan in His time.
There are immediate benefits, as well. In the Bible version I use most often, Solomon doesn’t actually use the word but in a newer version, the New Living Translation, his words go like this: “Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones.” (Proverbs 25:15)