Patience is an important spiritual principle that most people aren’t naturally born with. In today’s world, we want it now with quickly-instant gratification. There is a popular saying, ‘Anything that is worth having is worth waiting for” and the older I get, the more I realize that this is true. If there is something that is truly a desire of my heart, I have to submit to God’s timing.
I heard someone define patience as the ability to wait with a good attitude. I love that! If we are honest with ourselves, we all know what it is like to wait for something and not have a good attitude-whining, complaining, thinking negatively about the thing for which we are waiting. Waiting with a good attitude requires focus and practice. It requires forcing ourselves to pray about that thing instead of whine or complain. It forces us to remind ourselves that the thing we want is coming…at the right time. The bible says that promises are inherited through faith and patience (Hebrews 6:12). If we want what God has said we can have, patience is a requirement.
I found myself in a situation recently where my patience was tested. If I failed the test, I would end up with a new financial obligation that I could probably afford but would be better off to deal with at a later time. You see, I’m planning a wedding and just bought a new home. My funds are all strategically allocated and unexpected financial obligations would be tricky to manage. If I pass the test, my faith grows, I produce the fruit of patience (Galatians 5:22) and I end up with a testimony that glorifies God. Obviously, I want to pass this test but it wasn’t easy. Let me tell you what happened:
It was a dark and stormy night…
Don’t all great storytellers use that line? Well, it really is true in this case. On a dark and foggy night, I was driving home when my car hit a CRATER-sized pot hole. The hole was so big that I felt the bottom of my car hit the pavement. Somehow, my car made it the rest of the 25-minute drive home that night. I woke up the next morning to drive to work and as I was driving, the car didn’t feel right. Later in the day, it finally gave out and it had to be towed to the car dealership.
I called my insurance company, they assessed the damages-it was going to be almost a $5000 repair! I don’t know about you but I don’t have $5000 just sitting in the bank for a car repair (wedding and new home remember?); I will get there by God’s grace but I’m not there yet. Test #1: In response to this news, I could have been worried and anxious about not having the money for the repair, I could have been angry that I hit the pot hole (Michigan roads, UGH!) or I could skip those feelings and go to my Provider. So that’s what I did, I prayed that God would give me favor with the insurance company and that they would cover the repair.
About 10 days after the damage assessment, the insurance company denied my claim stating that I wasn’t an authorized driver on the policy. I thought surely, they must be mistaken but sadly that was the truth. It was an oversight on our part-when I started driving the vehicle we forgot to call and update the insurance policy. Test #2: in response to this news, I could have been angry that they wouldn’t pay for the repair and behaved poorly with the insurance claim agent (I mean, what do we pay insurance for, right???), I could have given up and taken on the financial obligation of a new/used car or I could continue praying about it. So that’s what I did, I took that denial right to the throne room of grace. God reminded me that every delay works in my favor, that He works out ALL things for my good (Romans 8:28) and I also felt the urge to let my insurance sales rep know what happened and ask if she could be of any assistance.
Two weeks before the pot hole accident, I had spoken with the insurance sales rep to add the insurance policy for our new home and updated the address on the auto policy. When I told her about the pot hole claim, she admitted that she should have asked two weeks ago about adding me to the auto policy but did not. The sales rep called the insurance claim agent to share her mistake and I was told they would continue reviewing the claim and get back with me. I continued to pray for favor with the insurance company but I also started looking for a replacement car just in case.
The saga continues…I went back and forth for two weeks with the insurance company asking questions, sending documentation, delay after delay after delay. Waiting can be frustrating but instead of complaining and taking out my frustration verbally on the insurance agents, I focused on being patient, thanking God in advance for working out the situation. It wasn’t always easy. I was tempted to just say forget it and get another car but this would have been an impulse decision made from my flesh and not made through wisdom.
FINALLY, 30 days after my car was towed to the dealership, the insurance company completed all their reviews and they decided in my favor to cover the parts and labor for the car repair fully! I praised God for His faithfulness towards me! He came through for me, in His perfect timing.
This is not my first testimony of waiting with a good attitude and I know it won’t be my last. Through each instance, I’m developing a model for how to go through the waiting period. When I’m waiting for something, here is my formula for patience that I have learned to apply in any situation:
- To remind myself of God’s promises-I’m always a winner through Christ Jesus, God wants to prosper me and not have me in situations of lack (Jeremiah 29:11), I don’t have to be anxious because He hears my prayers.
- To remind myself of God’s grace and mercy when I make a mistake-Even if I am in the wrong, He can redeem me from my mistakes.
- To remind myself to stay positive-Focus on things for which to be grateful in the midst of the situation, speak words of life and progress not death (Proverbs 18:20)
- To remind myself to be ever thankful-While I’m waiting, thank God in advance for coming through for me even though I don’t see or have what I’ve asked for.
The bible says we should let patience have its perfect work, that we may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:4.) Patience is necessary for living the abundant live we are intended to have. Find your formula and watch your life be transformed!
Guest article by: Kelli N. Clay