January 18, 2012

Thank You for Waiting

James 5:7-11

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming.
James 5:7


When our daughter turned sixteen, like many young people that age, she couldn’t wait to get her driver’s license. So we took her to get her learner’s permit. When we first arrived at the government agency, someone behind a desk gave us a slip of paper with a number on it. She told us to have a seat and wait for our number to be called.

The room was full of people, so we knew we would have to wait a while. We were there for nearly three hours! At one point, I noticed that the words “Thank you for waiting” appeared at the bottom of the slip of paper. I found it odd that someone I didn’t know was thanking me for patience I didn’t have!

Like many virtues, patience is best cultivated in situations where it is most required. Just as physical therapists teach people to do exercises that strengthen certain muscles, God gives us experiences that can enhance specific spiritual qualities. If you want (and need) to become more patient, don’t be surprised if God puts you in situations where patience is needed. That’s exactly how patience is practiced.

Times of prolonged waiting may not be fun. But the next time you have to wait, don’t focus on the inconvenience. Thank the Lord for giving you a vigorous spiritual workout session!

Lord, how hard it is to be patient! Help me to take advantage of the opportunities you provide to become a stronger Christian. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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