Someone, with good intentions, recently made the statement that, "Patience is the acceptance of a difficult situation without giving God a deadline to remove it." Something inside of me refused to accept this definition as it went against much of the grain in side of me. After contemplating what I believe patience to be I realized why the quote bugged me. I thought I might share a an explanation of what I think patience is. I'd love to hear your feed back.
Patience, to me, is actually the opposite of acceptance. It refuses to accept a situation and settle for less than God's best. It is actively waiting with the expectation of the now and not yet. Patience is the grace that allows us to live in the dicotemy of an earthly reality, while acknowledging God's higher truths that trumph this reality. It is living with the expectation that heaven will invade earth in my situation. It is being faithful with my last assignment even when everything in side of me wants to find my own solution, abandon ship, stop pain, and find pleasure. It is the belief that God has a solution in store that I can not yet "see".
The promises of God often require much patience. Abraham did not recieve his promise until after he and his wife passed 100. We birth Ishmeals when we lack patience, and try to fulfill God's promises in our own strength alone. Mary carried the promises of Jesus being the Christ until he was almost thirty. Because she actively waited on God, he allowed her to be the catalist that initiated Jesus' ministry. As Bill Johnson has said, her hunger for God to act attracted heaven, and God allowed her to bring into her day something that was reserved for another. Jesus' response makes sense when he says "woman, it is not yet my time" yet Mary's "Do what ever he tells you to" response to the servants, begs heaven to answer with the miracle of water turning to wine. (Notice Mary did not go out and buy wine, but actively waited on Jesus to reveal the Father's goodness in her situation.)
Patience is powerful. Complacence is its enemy. It's the voice of mediocrity that tries to lull us asleep at the door of God's promises. It tries to get us to change our theology to fit our circumstances when bad things happen to good people and we don't know why. It questions if God is still good all the time even in our situation. Patience, our valient friend, is cheering us on to knock, and keep knocking when we don't have answers to our situations because His Word does not return void, His promises are true, and the door will be opened if we just keep patiently knocking. The veil between heaven's promises and earth's reality is wearing thin. Do you have the courage to refuse to accept that what we see as all there is and the patience to press through to breakthrough?