by Jerry Lewis
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.Psalm 37:7-9 (NIV)
Martin Luther says this: “The sum of this Psalm is, Suffer; that is, learn patience.” As I ponder this phrase, suffering seems inevitable, but how much more do we grow through the valleys versus the mountain tops? In these valleys, suffering is accompanied with waiting. Waiting is hard. We wait for diagnosis, in road construction, for our next paycheck, our kids to grow up or reach that next stage in development, or to hear from God. Our lives seem to be in a constant state of waiting. Waiting can lead to anxiety, to stress and we can’t make the waiting go by any faster. How hard is it to be still in the waiting; to not rush ahead before God leads?
Patience means the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. There is a gracefulness to patience, a quiet calm that resonates deep in the soul. It helps keep the anxiety at bay as others around you seem to be getting everything they ever wanted, in a world where we see snapshots of everyone’s best life plastered for everyone to see. We rest in the stillness of God and His love for us.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.Romans 5:3-5
I was always told to never pray for patience because then you would end up in a situation where you would have to put it into practice. However, as Christians we should practice patience on a regular basis, whether it’s with our children, our spouse, or our coworkers. David tells us that those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. May this be a reminder to you that though the wait may be long there is always hope and joy through the valley if you only look for it.
Lord, I ask that you teach me patience, to show grace and mercy to those around me. Give me the strength to endure the waiting, to focus on You through the suffering to grow closer to You. As in David’s case, let me place my hope in You. Amen.