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I have heard people say, don’t pray for patience as if patience is a bad word. The idea is that if we pray for patience then our patience will be tested constantly. The bible says patience is a fruit of the Spirit. How can anything the Spirit produces be bad? Fruit takes time to grow and the time needed for growing is considered waiting. Are you waiting patiently? Anytime I think of waiting, I not only think about fruit growing, I imagine waiting in a doctor’s office for an appointment. Are you in a waiting room right now? Are you being told to wait?
I am no stranger to being told to wait. I’ve had my variety of struggles and hard times. Recently, I was homeless and displaced. I wanted to look for a place to live or settle for just any place to rent for me and my kids. I also wanted what God would have for me. When I inquired of the Lord for His direction He asked me to trust Him and to wait. I actually wanted proof in writing that He wanted me to wait. He was faithful and confirmed His word when I read a something I wrote from a message at church. The note stated “a patient waits in the waiting room.” As I began to think about my situation, I rewrote the note to state “patience waits, in the waiting room”.
I began to ponder the idea of a patient waiting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, waiting to be called. Once the patient is called, the patient is directed to a room where more waiting occurs as the patient waits to be seen by the doctor. Once seen, the patient may be referred to have tests done or obtain a prescription. Both involve more waiting.
My waiting room experience happened over the course of three months. I was living my everyday life- going to work, church, the gym, the grocery store and simultaneously I was in a waiting room, waiting. During this time the fruit of patience was developing. Through seasons of suffering the roots of patience were growing deep. As my trials continued, the fruit of patience was finally maturing. The greatest part of waiting for the fruit of patience was when I was able to taste God’s faithfulness and His blessings.
I was in need of a place to live. I had looked for rentals and homes for sale and it only frustrated me to see homes that were not in my budget, the wrong size, or in the wrong area. There were pressing issues at work and with my sons that needed my focus, and looking for a place to live was an additional burden. A burden that God did not want me to carry. I prayed for direction and I pleaded with God for an answer. God had already answered me. He said wait. And the revelation from the note said “patience waits, in the waiting room.” If love is patient, then love waits. If God is love, then God waits too.
During this time I had shared with my son that the Lord told me to “wait.” Later, I said, “should I be looking for a place?” and he replied to me “looking is not waiting, wait means wait.” Again, I thought to myself what does it mean to “wait”?
I was reminded how all throughout the Bible we are told to wait on the Lord. At the doctor’s office you know at some point you will be called. Sometimes we approach the receptionist to make sure we haven’t been forgotten because we’ve been waiting for so long. Yet we really have no alternative if we want to see the doctor, except to wait. While waiting at the doctor’s office, I usually bring things to occupy my time while my main focus is listening for when my name is called. I am waiting but I am not bored. There are other things I can get done while I am sitting down, this waiting time is the perfect opportunity to rest.
I could have disobeyed God and continued looking and getting bitter; instead I obeyed. I had peace about God’s instructions to me. I stopped looking and I waited. Since the burden was lifted, I began to enjoy my situation, discovering the good and the opportunities available to me. By not having household chores or expenses to deal with, I had more time to visit family and time for myself. I made a budget, I paid off necessary debt, my credit score increased and then one day out of the blue I received an email asking me if I was still in need of a home. It was a 4-bedroom home that I now own. When escrow closed I already had equity in my home.
What I learned through this waiting room experience was that it was impossible to wait well, until I had total confidence in the Lord’s faithfulness. I knew He had the ability to bring about a good resolution because I had a promise from God. Jeremiah 29:11 He has a plan and it is for good, to give me a future and a hope. My job was to believe God meant what He said. I had to stay in the position of waiting so that I was ready when He called my name.
God said He knows the plans He has for me and they are good. My outward situation seemed devastating, however inwardly I knew my foundation was my relationship with the Lord. I had been through hard times before and God had always seen me though. In similar past experiences I had always waited in fear. This time there was no fear. I had grown with God to know that He was not oblivious to what was happening in my life. I knew He had the answers and I needed to trust Him. God said wait and so I said ok.
Even though I may not know the appointed time, I know that to wait means carving out time, believing God will answer me within a specified time, and that He will help me, even after hours if necessary. God doesn’t always share how long we are required to wait. That is where faith comes in. Remember faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Having the confidence in God’s ability to bring about a good plan within His appropriate time is our responsibility. Then we will taste the sweetness of His faithfulness because we took the time to wait and we allowed patience have its perfect work in us.
Do you find yourself in a waiting room experience? This is your chance to allow more faith to develop, as you trust in Him every minute of the waiting. Remember to put your total confidence in God’s faithfulness. Know that God has a good plan for your future (Jer 29:11). He is trustworthy. He loves you, put your hope in Him again. Even in waiting- believe God and believe His word. Jeremiah 29:11 is for you.
Now that the new year is past, I was reflecting on the the last part of 2015. Before Thanksgiving I was meditating on being thankful and realized that we throw thank you’s out there like we throw the word love around. I am thankful every day of my life, but there is more to being thankful than just saying thank you.
Someone gives us something or does something for us and we say thank you, but was it a real genuine heartfelt thank you? Webster’s Dictionary says to thank is to express one’s gratitude. Thankful is a feeling or showing of gratitude. As we know, Thanksgiving Day in the United States is set apart as a legal holiday for public thanksgiving.
Years ago, I began to pray a prayer of thanks over our Thanksgiving meal and as each one of my family members accepted the Lord, different ones said that prayer! I know everyone of them were thankful, but sometimes the prayer was said with their eyes on the food with a “let’s say this quickly, I’m hungry,” attitude. This year I asked my 14 year old great-grandson to bless the food, and though it was short you could hear and feel true thankfulness pouring out of his heart, and see the tears in his eyes. This spurred me on to search my heart and to continue to meditate on true thankfulness.
Jesus thanked God at the passover feast before His crucifixion in Matthew 26:27. He also thanked God for the two fish and five loaves, and then fed the five thousand in John 6:11. Why did Jesus, God incarnate, have to thank God? Because Jesus was truly thankful, and also to be an example to us. There is something supernatural in true thanksgiving. There is power in being truly thankful.
A heart of thanksgiving is vital to our walk with Jesus. It was easy for me to be thankful for all the good things, yet, now the Lord has given me a thankful heart even through trials, challenges, tribulation, and sorrow. In them I have been developing a truly thankful heart. Let’s see where Jesus is in all of our situations. In Psalms 27:13-14 David said “I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart.”
I learned to leave the outcome to Jesus while staying thankful. We follow Him wherever He leads in thankfulness, without worrying about how it will all turn out. Think of your life as an adventure, with Jesus as your guide and companion. Live in the now, concentrating on staying in step with Him. When our path leads to a cliff, be willing to climb it with thanksgiving; with His help. When we come to a resting pace with thankfulness, take time to be refreshed in His Presence. Enjoy the rhythm of life lived close to Jesus.
You already know the ultimate destination of your journey is heaven. So with thanksgiving keep your focus on the path just before you, leaving the outcome to Him.
He is pleased with you. Allow yourself to be aware of His pleasure shining on you. Shift your focus from His performance to His radiant Presence. Thankfulness and trust are your primary receptors. Thank Him for all things, trust Him at all times.
Psalms 62:8 Trust in Him at all times you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Habakkuk had a true thankful heart. Habakkuk 3:17-18 “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord,I will joy in the God of my salvation.” This is true thankfulness!
A thankful attitude opens the windows of heaven. Spiritual blessings fall freely onto you through those openings into eternity. As you look up with a grateful heart, you get glimpse of glory and a taste of heaven.
Thankfulness is not a magic formula; it is the language of love. A thankful mindset is not a denial of reality. Instead, it rejoices in Jesus our savior, in the midst of trials and tribulations. Jesus is our refuge and strength, an ever-present and well-proved help in times of trouble.
Let’s practice true thanksgiving at all times whether there are gifts or not, whether everything is going our way or not.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. So let’s learn life lessons with thankfulness and watch and see what the Lord is doing in all things.
Happy New Year, and with much love, Judy Smith
VERSES ON THANKFULNESS
Psalms 26:7 That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works.
Psalms 50:14 Offer to God thanksgiving…
Psalms 95:2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
Psalms 107:22 Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
Colossians 4:2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.
Written by Remaliah Evans
This cartoon made me laugh (a lot) because this little bird has probably been learning to fly for some time now, yet she is afraid to fly without her parachute even though SHE HAS WINGS! Like this yellow bird, I have everything I need to do what God had created me to do. The bird was created to fly and I was created to write. Like the yellow bird, I have been practicing, writing, editing, journaling, reading books and articles about writing, and taking writing courses. Still, I have been afraid to take flight and write the book.
My parachute was writing school. I wanted to go a particular writing school for years. I applied and was rejected, and this year the program closed. The plan was to write the book AFTER I graduated writing school. I could go to another writing school, however I probably won’t because I believe that it is time to take off the parachute and simply write. The yellow bird has wings that empower her to fly, and I have the Holy Spirit who empowers me to write. So no more parachute. I am taking it off, and for accountability purposes, I am letting y’all know that I am writing and finishing my book by the end of 2015. It is time to fly.
There are other areas in my life where I have been trained, I have had a great deal of practice and yet I insist on keeping my parachute, crutches, floaties, and training wheels. Why? Because I am scared. Scared to mess up, scared of looking stupid, scared that I will fail. Scared that I might actually succeed and not be able to live up to someone’s expectations. Want to know something ridiculous? I used to fear that my first book would make Oprah’s book club, then my second book would be a flop, and I would become a one-hit wonder. What’s with all this fear? Much of the fear stems from insecurities and some of it comes from the enemy’s mission to convince me that I am not good enough and that I am not worthy. Sadly, I have spent more time dwelling on these lies, than believing God’s written truth.
I went to conference earlier this year and learned an important principle: we must come out of agreement with lies and anything contrary to God’s word. Then we can obtain freedom from fear and bondage. As such, when I hear the thoughts “I am unworthy, I can’t do this” I need to make a conscious decision to reject these lies and declare the truth. The truth is that I am worthy because Jesus Christ chose to die for me for me so that I could be a daughter of God. I can succeed because He has already declared in Isaiah 41:10 that I am not to fear because He is with me, and I am not to be dismayed because He is my God. He will strengthen me and help me and uphold me with His righteous right hand.
Ladies, the Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives within us. Let’s take off the parachutes and fly!