Patience

Recently, God has been teaching me about having patience–both with Him and with the world. Over and over again, he’s given me situations to test my ability to wait, and every time He’s given me something better than I would’ve gotten had I not waited. Granted, I was forced to wait in one of these instances, but the one where I chose to wait resulted in a free e-book.

The first test was about an email. I had sent an email with a picture of myself to be published, but later regretted my decision because that picture was a really bad one. It was just one of those pictures that are okay but not perfect. Since I didn’t want it to be published, I emailed her back a couple weeks later and asked her if she could change it. Problem was, I sent it late Tuesday night and the book was supposed to be published on Friday. I wasn’t sure if she was going to get it in time, and it began to really stress me out. Even after I tried to give it over to God, it still bothered me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Wednesday came and went, Thursday came and went. I was really nervous that I had sent the revision too late. Friday came, and while I was reading a book (Wonder by R.J. Palacio), I came across a line that said, “Funny how sometimes you worry a lot about something and it turns out to be nothing.” I paused for a moment and thought about that, although not for too long or too hard. But a little while later, my phone buzzed and I just KNEW it was from the publisher. I can’t explain how, but I just knew. Sure enough, it was from her. And sure enough, it wasn’t too late. My good picture was going to make it into the book after all. I just stood there, tears in my eyes and “Thank you God!” on my lips. It was an amazing moment because right then and there I realized my mistake. I had prayed that she would see the email on Wednesday, and after Wednesday had passed I prayed that she would see it on Thursday. If God had done it on my timeline, I wouldn’t have had that amazing realization that God really does work everything out for good–even the tiniest things like a picture for a book. And it works out best in His timing, not my own.

The second one also had to do with that book. I really wanted to read it, but the paperback copy wasn’t supposed to arrive until this Thursday (it still hasn’t, BTW). I saw that it was available as an e-book for $0.99, and was like “that’s cheap enough, I’ll just buy the e-book so I don’t have to wait!” My mom didn’t think it was a good way to spend my money, but she eventually gave in and gave me permission to buy it. I was going to, but the guilt crept in because I knew that she didn’t really approve and I knew that I should just be patient. So I didn’t buy it. And what do you know, the very next day, the publisher announces that the e-book is free this week! I got it for free all because I was able to wait. Pretty cool how God works, isn’t it?

The third test just happened two or three hours ago. I had unplugged my fish’s filter a couple days ago because the water level had gotten low enough that it was causing the filter to be really noisy. However, when I plugged it back in tonight, it didn’t turn on. Me, being the *good* Christian that I am, prayed that God would fix the filter. It seemed like such a small and insignificant request, but I’ve learned my lesson regarding that so many times that I didn’t let it stop me. I said “amen,” and cautiously plugged it back in. Nothing. I tried it again, and again, and again. It didn’t start. I paused for a moment, thinking to myself, “Hasn’t God been teaching me about patience? Maybe I should just wait.” So I left it plugged in and continued doing whatever it was that I had been doing. A little while later it started to work. Again, God has shown me that His way and timing are so much better than mine. It’s absolutely amazing.

I hope that you find these stories inspiring, and that you’ll join me on my journey of learning to be patient. Good things come to those who wait, and more specifically, those who wait on the Lord.

Teach us, O Lord, the disciplines of patience, for to wait is often harder than to work.

– Peter Marshall