Mom, if you are reading this, I know you are laughing because you know what story I am going to tell regarding my patience, or lack thereof.!:)
During one Christmas break when I was in middle school, I was helping my mom make cut-out butter cookies. My mom rolled out the dough, and my job was to use the cookie cutters to make the cute candy canes, bells, and stars. Well, let's just say I was a bit too anxious to finish up these cookies because I kept reaching in to use my cookie cutter before my mom was finished rolling them to the correct thickness. Then, I got very irrate when they would not come out of the cutter, so I started banging the cutter on the counter to get them to come out. And when they did, they did not look so good. After enduring a few rounds of this, my mom had reached the end of her rope. "Kristi, you know what you lack? Patience! P-a-t-i-e-n-c-e."
All the while, my sister was cracking up and caught it on video tape. To this day, we laugh about my impatience, and my mom's spelling out the word for me, like that would help me understand that I had a major defiency in that area!!
Patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit, along with love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Out of all of those, patience is definitely where I need the most help from God. Last year our women's group did a Beth Moore study on the Fruit of the Spirit. It really helped me to understand that it is only through God's gift of the Holy Spirit in us that we can truly exhibit these qualities in their fullest sense. As soon as we accept Christ as our Savior, the Holy Spirits dwells in us. What exactly does the Holy Spirit do? I would like to use Beth's words from "Living Beyond Yourself":
He works to bring us to salvation. He seals us as members of God's family. He leads us as we seek to know and grow in God. The Spirit empowers us to fight life's inevitable battles with the world, flesh, and the devil. In every way and at every turn we are utterly dependent on the Holy Spirit of God.
I love that passage! It makes me feel the closeness of God and the love He has for us. What an amazing gift the Holy Spirit is! If only I could remember to call on it for help when I need it! I know you all struggle in one area or another so you can relate. There are several things I have been praying for and about for a few years now and no answer has come. Do I get impatient for God's answer? Oh yes! I think, "God, I am asking for a person's salvation. That is a good thing! Why are you not making it happen?" And that voice inside me says, My ways are not your ways.
Okay. I will wait. Then I pray some more, lose patience and have the same conversation again, a few months later! I cannot imagine my frustration level if I did not call on the Holy Spirit to help me understand that God's plan for this person or my life or my family's future is perfect. "All things work together for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
It is so hard when God's answer to a prayer is no answer....But by spending time in the Word, asking the Holy Spirit to fill me with patience, and seeking guidance from Him, it is clear that God has my best interests in mind. After all, I owe my own salvation to His patience with me!
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9