I used to think that I was a patient person, but lately I’ve been realizing that I’m really not. I don’t like it when things go wrong (defined as not how I want them to). I don’t like it when things break, especially if we can’t afford to replace them. And I don’t like waiting for someone else when I have other things that I want to do. I always try my best to be kind and considerate to others, but when it comes right down to it, I’m really a rather selfish person. I want things to go my way. As a general rule, they don’t. Now, I have to tell you that I learned long ago not to pray for patience—all manner of things might happen to a person who prays for patience—but I think the Lord might be trying to teach it to me anyway.
The Apostle Paul always gave practical instructions to the people he wrote to, and Romans 12 is certainly a shining example of that. In the middle of Romans 12:12, Paul tells us to endure in suffering. Be patient! Things are not always going to go the way you want them to; as a matter of fact, we can be sure that in this world we will have trouble. (John 16:33) But on either side of that phrase in Romans 12:12 we are given other instructions that will help us to endure.
Rejoice in hope. We know, and I have said many times, that God wants what is best for us. (Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 7:11) I always want things to go according to what I plan, because I think I know what is best for me, but the truth is that I usually want what is easiest, most enjoyable, most productive or most rewarding. God wants to build my character and integrity and make me more like Jesus. He has an eternal perspective, and if we were to focus on eternity instead of this very moment, perhaps rejoicing in hope would come more easily.
Persist in prayer. Prayer is a gift from God. It allows us to tap into His plan and His power. It connects us to Almighty God, which is hard to fathom really. That He would allow us to be a part of His family, and to take part in what He wants to accomplish on this earth, is just beyond imagining. Prayer is a benefit to us, and it glorifies God when we come to Him. It keeps us focused on the overall picture, which helps us to rejoice in hope and to endure suffering.
We should pray, rejoice and not give up.