Christian Beliefs And Culture

Don’t Pray for Patience



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It has been said that if you pray for patience, God will send your trials.  I don’t believe the Lord is so petty or mean, but I do see a certain logic to the premise.  How else would one learn patience, besides going through some difficult ordeal which forces them to?  Patience is not our natural inclination.  Human beings tend to be selfish creatures, anxious to find gains for themselves as immediately as possible.  This is not necessarily done with malice, or ill will.  It’s just the natural tendency all living creatures have to survive.    

If one is too patient, they miss out on the best food, or the warmest shelter, or the most reproductive mate.  God, however, wanted more from mankind than a simple animal desire to survive.  He wanted us to be in relationship with Him and with each other, and so He granted us intellect, emotion, and free will.  We have the sophistication to over ride our basis instincts of survival and bring patience to bear on any situation.  It doesn’t hurt us to have to wait for things we want in today's society.  We aren’t likely going to miss out on any of the fundamentals we need to survive; we just don’t like to have to wait. 

Of course, there are exceptions, but generally speaking, being impatient is mostly a matter of being self-absorbed; wanting to put ones-self first, purely for one’s own gain.  So, when you’re feeling like you wish God would give you patience, take a step back and think about what it is you’re really wanting.  What is it that isn’t going your way quickly enough?  Pray to God for the wisdom to find a solution or the selflessness to accept things the way they are.  Praying for patience is really praying for a quicker resolution to our perceived needs, when really we could either find a resolution ourselves or simply accept that things will conclude in their own time, and selflessly quit seeking to speed them up. 

I don’t believe the Lord actually sends trials to those who pray for patience, but when one is feeling anxious and self-absorbed, every situation can feel like an ordeal.  Wisdom and acceptance are far better things to pray for, or so my more patient friends keep trying to tell me, if only I’d rest long enough to listen. 

 

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