Be patient! Much good comes out of the virtue of patience… and much “not so good” comes out of the lack of thereof. Reflecting back in my own life, I can count numerous occasions where being patient paid off big for me. Some of these occasions include: Becoming a scratch golfer, graduating from college, graduate school… getting tenure for the first time, finding the right wife, the list goes on and on. Patience was key in obtaining all of these milestones. Hope in God was also key.
I was able to surrender to God’s timing and control, through prayer, in order to achieve the former blessings. In my mind I thought, “If it is God’s will… I surrender my wishes to you.” Guess what? Through my hope in God and by surrendering my wishes to His, things worked out in His own time like me graduating high school at age 20, college at 28 but having a PhD by 34.
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope” (Palm 130:5).
On the other hand, being impatient has contributed to a number of my life’s pitfalls including losing a number of golf tournaments that I should have won, losing my university tenure, and almost giving up my career in higher education at one time. As I reflect on this topic, I admit that my inability to wait on God’s timing in some circumstances has caused much strife to me and my family, in a number of areas, over the years. How tragic!
I was pretty upset after UCF cancelled their search (after in-house interviews were conducted) in the Spring of 2019. The committee search chair, after my final interview told me later in the day, “We want you here. We will be in touch very soon.” I was ready to move, settle, and finally move to a warmer area. God had different plans. I had to stay one more year in Tennessee… This past December, a university in the south wanted me to join them as a Department Chair in the Spring of 2020. Although I would like to have left Cleveland in December, I had a contract with LeeU still.
The time wasn’t right for me. I’m a man of my word. Other circumstances also played a role in my inability to leave my current institution that time. Clearly, the Lord wanted me to stay here until May 2020. I’ve learned to accept that my time isn’t always God’s time and that sometimes, unpleasant experiences occur in order to build us for the next journey that God wants us to embark on.
I sometimes forget that God doesn’t operate under my wishes but His wishes. I admit but I’m getting much better at it. It’s worthwhile waiting and seeking God’s favor in His own time, always. Remember, “No eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for Him” (Isaiah 64:4).
It’s weird. I’m patient with others much more than I’m patient with me. However, this is changing rapidly as I’m seeing that when we put our hopes in the promises of God, we do right according to God’s will, our faith increases and much strength is gained. God even open our eyes to what surround us in ways that I can’t even describe.
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like the eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
I need to keep cultivating my trust in God’s will as much as you do. It is a fruit of the spirit that must be practiced by all of us. Be patient, pray and accept that in this life, God is in control of your life not you or me. Much good comes out of the virtue of patience.
Remember: Patience produces character.