Have you ever considered your impatience as a form of unbelief? It’s what we begin to feel when we start to doubt the wisdom of God’s timing or the goodness of His guidance. It springs up in our hearts when the road to success gets muddy or strewn with boulders or blocked by some fallen tree. The battle with impatience can be a little skirmish over a long wait in a check out lane. Or it can be a major combat over a handicap or disease or circumstance that knocks out half your dreams. The opposite of impatience is not a glib, superficial denial of frustration. The opposite of impatience is a deepening, peaceful willingness either to wait for God where you are in the place of obedience, or to persevere at the pace He allows on the road of obedience – to wait in His place or to go at His pace. When the way you planned your day to flow is cut off or slowed down, impatience can tempt you in two directions, depending partly on your personality partly on circumstances.
It can tempt you to give up and bail out. If there’s going to be frustration and opposition and difficulty, then I’ll just forget it. I won’t keep this job, or take this challenge, rear this child, or stay in this marriage, or live this life. That’s one way the unbelief of impatience tempts you. Give up. Alternatively impatience can tempt you to make rash counter moves against the obstacles in your way. It tempts you to be impetuous, hasty, impulsive, or even reckless. If you don’t turn your car around and go home, you could rush into some ill-advised detour trying to beat the system. Whichever way, you will find that you have to struggle against impatience and that is a struggle, if not a battle against unbelief – not merely a personality issue. The issue is whether you will live by faith or not. Read these verses and see if you can sense how vital this battle is.
Luke 21:19…“By your endurance (patience) you will gain your lives.” Romans 2:7…”To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, God will give eternal life.” Hebrews 6:12…”Do not be sluggish but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Patience in living out the will of God is not an optional extra in the Christian life, because without faith, it is impossible to please God. Patience in well doing is the fruit of faith and impatience is the fruit of unbelief. So when you fight against impatience, it is a struggle against unbelief. The chief weapon that you can use in the fight is the Word of God, especially His promises.
Notice the relationship between the promises of God and the patience of the believer in Psalm 130:5…” I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word do I hope.” So how does the Psalmist fight against impatience in his heart? Waiting for the Lord. “Waiting for the Lord” is an Old Testament way of describing the opposite of impatience. Waiting for the Lord is the opposite of running ahead of the Lord and it’s the opposite of bailing out on the Lord. Is staying at your appointed place while He says stay. Or it’s going at His appointed pace while He says go. It’s not impetuous and its not despairing. Now how does the Psalmist sustain his patience as he waits for the Lord to show him the next move? Verse 5 says, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope.” The strength that sustains and strengthens you in patience is hope, and the source of your hope is the Word of God. Hope is faith in the future tense. As the writer of Hebrews says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for.” So what we have in Psalm 130:5 is a clear illustration that the way to war against impatience is to strengthen your hope in God, and the way to fortify your hope in God is to listen to His word, especially His promises.