By: Burk Parsons
We want patience, and we want it now. We are a society consumed with instant gratification. If something takes too long, we turn to something faster, and there’s no time to waste. For whatever reason, we are under the impression that we should be able to get anything we want whenever we want it. Even when it comes to the Christian life, we think that with the push of a button, or with the click of a mouse, we can have instant holiness, instant humility, and instant patience. However, these attributes cannot be acquired instantly, for they are not commodities to be bought or sold.
Patience is the most subtle virtue, and, without a doubt, it is the most ignored virtue. Unfortunately, many people think that patience is most prominently demonstrated by someone who has an easy going, laid-back attitude. But, on the contrary, patience is not some passive nuance of someone’s character; it is an active, exhibited virtue. It is a virtue of trust.
To exercise trust implies that we are trusting in someone greater than ourselves. It is no wonder the world is so impatient. Those who do not know God can only trust in themselves, for there is no one greater in whom they can place their trust. Their confidence is self-confidence, their esteem is self-esteem, and their reliance is self-reliance.
In the world’s economy, everything is a commodity, and to the world the self is number one consumer. Therefore, when the self wants something, the self should get it. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent convinced Eve that she should not trust God but that she should place her trust in herself so that she could see as God sees. Forsaking her trust in God, she was self-reliant to the point of death. Since that time, Satan has done all he can to sell the lie of instant gratification to the people of God. However, we will not give in to the enemy’s deceitful promises. We will not sell our souls in order to be instantly gratified. We are not self reliant, we are reliant upon God and God alone — in God we trust, and for that reason we are patient.
If we trust in ourselves, then we are a hopeless people. But we are the people of God who place our trust in the sovereign Creator and Sustainer of all things. Indeed, we do not know patience apart from Him; we are patient precisely because He is patient toward us, enduring with us to the very end. Therefore, we live coram Deo, for in Him we live, move, and have our being, and in Him our patience is perfected.