Patience is a virtue.
It’s pretty easy for me to quote this adage when I’m at the checkout line in the grocery store about three people deep with my ice cream melting in my buggy. But it’s a whole different ballgame when I’ve been patiently waiting on the Lord to fill my arms with a baby for three solid years. And to add salt to the wound, it seems that at every turn there’s another gender reveal party for a couple who seemingly did not have to wait for even a month to have the desires of their hearts fulfilled. At this point patience does not feel as much like a virtue as it does a punishment.
However, when I turn to Scripture on the topic of patience, I see the faultiness in my thinking because it says that when I exercise patience, I am ushering in the compassion of the Lord. King David knew the ups and downs of this life well. In Psalm 40 he readily admits that he was in a slimy pit of despair, helpless to control his situation. But instead of pitching a fit that God allowed him to be in that pit in the first place, he instead waited patiently on Him to reconcile his situation. Psalm 40:1 says, “I waited patiently for the Lord, and He turned to me and heard my cry for help.” David’s restraint to not take matters into his own hand, but rather wait patiently on the Lord to fulfill His promises invoked the mercy of God. David experienced the beauty of having the Lord turn toward him and hearing every bit of his heart’s cry.
God didn’t leave David in that pit and He won’t leave us there either. He hears every single one of our hearts’ cries and it moves Him to compassion. He is faithful to fulfill His promises to us, but it will be in His timing, not ours. As we continue reading in Psalm 40, we see that even as David waited patiently for the Lord to move, he prayed diligently, asking the Lord not to delay His compassion as well as being honest with his emotional state of neediness. It pleases the Lord when we bring Him our troubles and pray over them rather than grumble about them to others. He knows what we need, but He also desires for us to put our trust fully in Him as we wait for Him to deliver us from the pit.
Yes, patience is a virtue and those that wait patiently on the Lord will experience Him turning toward them with compassion. He hears every heart’s cry.
This article originally appeared in LifeWay Women’s Journey Magazine – June 2020