Patience in the Wait

James 5:10-11 10 See how the early preachers spoke for the Lord by their suffering and by being willing to wait. 11 We think of those who stayed true to Him as happy even though they suffered. You have heard how long Job waited. You have seen what the Lord did for him in the end. The Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.

We may think our theology and attitude about the Lord are revealed by what we claim to believe. But when our prayers go unanswered and circumstances remain unchanged, the way we wait speaks volumes about our true beliefs. 

Job was a God-fearing man who endured the loss of his children, health, and possessions. Yet he remained faithful to the Lord throughout his ordeal, despite a desperate need to know why he was so afflicted. In the midst of his suffering, Job cried out, “Oh, that my request might come to pass, and that God would grant my hope!”(Job 6:8). Every day was filled with unrelenting pain, but his consolation and joy were that he had “not denied the words of the Holy One” (Job 6:10).

The world around us judges God as unfair, indifferent, or malicious, but this should never be the case with us. When the Lord remains silent during our times of adversity or confusion, we should go to His Word to discover what it says about His character and ways. Even when our feelings seem overwhelming and our faith starts to falter, we can stand firm on the facts of Scripture.

Becoming a Patient Person

Acts 25 Three days after Festus had become leader in the country, he went from the city of Caesarea to Jerusalem. The head religious leaders and the leaders of the Jews told Festus what they had against Paul. They asked Festus for a favor. They wanted Paul to be brought to Jerusalem because they had plans to kill him on the way. Festus told them that Paul was to be kept in Caesarea and that he would be going there soon. Festus said, “If Paul has done anything wrong, let your leaders go along with me and say what they have against him.”

After staying with them about ten days, Festus went down to Caesarea. The next day he sat in the courtroom and asked for Paul to be brought in. Paul came into the courtroom. The Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him. They said many bad things against him. But they could not prove any of the things they said. Paul spoke for himself, saying, “I have done nothing wrong against the Law of the Jews or against the house of God or against Caesar.”

Festus was hoping to get the respect of the Jews. He asked Paul, “Will you go to the court in Jerusalem and let me say if you are guilty or not about these things?” 10 Paul said, “I am standing in front of Caesar’s court where I should be told I am right or wrong. I have done no wrong to the Jews. You know that. 11 If I have done wrong and should die, I am not trying to keep from dying. But if these things they say against me are not true, no one can give me over to them. I ask to be taken to Caesar.” 12 Festus talked to the leaders of the court. Then he said to Paul, “You have asked to be taken to Caesar. You will go to him.”

13 After a few days, King Agrippa and his wife, Bernice, came down to Caesarea. They went to Festus to greet him. 14 They stayed there a few days. Festus told them about Paul. He said, “There is a man here who was left in prison by Felix. 15 When I was at Jerusalem, the head religious leaders and the leaders of the people told me about him and asked me to say that he is guilty. 16 I told them it was against the Roman law to hand over a man to be put to death before he stood face to face with those who had something against him and could speak for himself. 17 When they came here, I took my seat in the courtroom at once. I had the man brought in. 18 When the others spoke, they had nothing against him that I thought they had. 19 They did not agree with him about their own religion, and they argued about someone called Jesus. He had died but Paul kept saying He was alive. 20 I did not know what to do. Then I asked him if he would go on trial about these things at Jerusalem. 21 But Paul asked to go on trial in front of Caesar. I said that he should be kept in prison until he could be sent to Caesar.” 22 Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man.” Festus said, “Tomorrow you will hear him.”

23 The next day Agrippa and Bernice came into the courtroom. They were dressed to show their greatness as king and queen. Army leaders and leading men of the city came in with them. Festus had Paul brought in.

24 Festus said, “King Agrippa and all of you who are here with us, you see this man. All of the Jews both here and at Jerusalem are saying that Paul should be put to death. 25 I have heard nothing against him that would be reason to put him to death. But he asked for a trial in front of Caesar. I have agreed to send Paul to him. 26 When I write to Caesar, I have nothing to say against him. For this reason, I brought him in front of you all and in front of you, King Agrippa. After we ask him questions, I may have something to write about. 27 It is foolish for me to send a man up for trial without writing what is against him.”

Continuing our discussion on patience, we can learn a lot about the topic from the story of Paul’s trial. Instead of letting his accusers stir him up, the apostle patiently went through the legal process. He refrained from attacking the opposition or decrying the injustice of the charges. And eventually Paul’s peaceful manner won favor with the governor and earned him a hearing for the gospel (Acts 25:24-25 above).

We need the Lord’s help to grow in patience like Paul. This will involve our …

  • Thoughts. We should try to shift our attention away from circumstances and onto our heavenly Father. His Spirit will help us gain the right perspective.
  • Emotions. When we notice negative feelings, it’s good to pause and ask the Holy Spirit to guide our reactions. Then we can request that He empower us to respond in a godly manner.
  • Speech. Pray for self-control over your tongue. A timely word can defuse a situation (A man with a bad temper starts fights, but he who is slow to anger quiets fighting. Prov. 15:18).

The Lord will answer our prayers and provide what we need, just as He did for Paul when the apostle faced Festus and King Agrippa. Despite the injustice of those situations, Paul remained unprovoked. Imagine what God will do through you as you grow in the virtue of patience.

Developing Patience

Colossians 3:12-17 12 God has chosen you. You are holy and loved by Him. Because of this, your new life should be full of loving-pity. You should be kind to others and have no pride. Be gentle and be willing to wait for others. 13 Try to understand other people. Forgive each other. If you have something against someone, forgive him. That is the way the Lord forgave you. 14 And to all these things, you must add love. Love holds everything and everybody together and makes all these good things perfect. 15 Let the peace of Christ have power over your hearts. You were chosen as a part of His body. Always be thankful.

16 Let the teaching of Christ and His words keep on living in you. These make your lives rich and full of wisdom. Keep on teaching and helping each other. Sing the Songs of David and the church songs and the songs of heaven with hearts full of thanks to God. 17 Whatever you say or do, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. Give thanks to God the Father through the Lord Jesus.

On any given day, we may encounter frustrating people and situations, such as a mischievous child, uncooperative coworker, or slow commute. We might feel like lashing out, but God wants us to stay calm and be patient with everyone (We ask you, Christian brothers, speak to those who do not want to work. Comfort those who feel they cannot keep going on. Help the weak. Understand and be willing to wait for all men. 1 Thess. 5:14). Scripture has a number of things to say about believers developing this important attribute.

First, it is our calling. God urges us to be tolerant, kind, and bear each other’s burdens (I am being held in prison because of working for the Lord. I ask you from my heart to live and work the way the Lord expected you to live and work. Live and work without pride. Be gentle and kind. Do not be hard on others. Let love keep you from doing that. Work hard to live together as one by the help of the Holy Spirit. Then there will be peace. Eph. 4:1-3). Second, the Lord has set an example for us: He demonstrated patience toward Peter’s actions, the crowd’s demands, and the leaders’ false accusations. We should aspire to such composure. And third, we should recognize how damaging impatience is. It can hurt others and close off dialogue. Responding calmly gives people room to confess wrongdoing, explain their attitude, and make changes.

Patience is part of the spiritual fruit that increasingly develops as we’re conformed to Christ’s image (22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23). When we rely on the Holy Spirit, He empowers us to wade through moments of waiting and provocation—without becoming agitated. A calm demeanor in times of delay or adversity can be a powerful witness to the transforming work of God.

How To Develop Godly Patience


Sometimes, patience is the last thing you have in this fast-paced, frantic world, so here’s how you can remain patient when everyone else seems to be losing theirs.

What is Patience?

The dictionary defines patience as: the ability or capacity to remain patient; the state of endurance under difficult circumstances; and/or persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting upon it. That sounds a lot like Job. In the context of being persecuted for being Christ’s witness, Jesus said, “Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matt 5:29). This doesn’t mean we don’t lock our doors at night or don’t take precautions, but we do not respond in kind. This was not talking about physical violence but about being insulted for His name’s sake. We are to turn the other cheek in the sense of not retaliating when we are insulted for our faith. That is the context of verses 38-42 because Jesus went on to say that “if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” Clearly this is a command to go the extra mile for someone and not give “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” (Matt 5:38). A person who is being persecuted for living a godly life shouldn’t be surprised by persecution (1 Pet 4:12-19; 1 John 3:13)…the surprise would be that a professing Christian is never persecuted for their faith.

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8 Reasons It’s Tough To Wait On God

The biblical recognition that we sometimes must wait on God is clear (e.g., Psa. 130:5, Isa. 40:31). Most of us struggle with the waiting, though. Here are some reasons why:

  1. We’re often impatient in general. Think about it—we get frustrated sitting at the doctor’s office, click the channels between commercials so we don’t miss anything, choose the shortest line at the supermarket, and honk our car horns before the traffic light even changes. We don’t wait on much, including God.

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Sermon: Patience and Prayer from James 5:7-10

The Fruit of the Spirit 5: Patience

By John Webster

Parts one, two, three and four of this series can be found hereherehere and here ~ Mark McDowell, the Editor
As he unfolds the ways in which the Spirit renews and animates our lives, the apostle has spoken of love of God and our fellows, the fountain of the other virtues; of joy, the pleasure which believers take in the presence of the good things which are promised to us in our new condition; and of peace, the settled state which accompanies life well-ordered in relation to God and to others.  Yet in our present state, this side of the heavenly consummation of God’s entire remaking of us, love, joy and peace are never unmixed; even as they begin to provide the shape of our lives, we find them opposed by the persistence of sin and disorder in ourselves and in all that surrounds us.  Reconciled to God by the Son, made alive and active by the Spirit, marked out by Christian baptism as members of the communion of saints, nevertheless we remain incomplete.  Our incompleteness does not indicate the fragility or uncertainty of our present state, so much as the fact that we exist in a condition of promise rather than full possession.  Christian life and experience now is always accompanied by the reality that those lovely things of God of which we are assured and of which we have conviction are hoped for, not seen (Heb. 11.1).
In this state, we are required to exercise a virtue which enables us to face affliction in a steady and collected way, that is, the virtue of patience.  How does the gospel instruct us as we seek to think about and fulfil the command: ‘Be patient’ (Jas. 5.7)?
Christian patience is an excellence of regenerate human nature.  Knowing that we are chosen, called, justified and sanctified by God, and that day by day we are preserved and sustained by his goodness as we move to an inheritance of great glory, patient Christian people tolerate difficulties and encounter present obstacles with equanimity and steadiness of purpose.  Our unfinished condition means labour and a certain lack of fulfilment; patience is the composure and readiness to wait which does not allow the good things of God to slip from our grasp.
Patience appears routinely in apostolic moral and spiritual instruction.  By it, believers are enabled to endure the present interval before the return of Christ and the end of history, and to face the afflictions which fill the present.  ‘Be patient … until the coming of the Lord.  Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early rain and the late rain.  You also be patient.  Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.’ (Jas. 5.7f.)  ‘May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.’ (Col. 1.11)

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Patience is Not Optional for the Christian

Do we stick together like “family” or a business?

Few Christians have been mentored with a “family” rather than a “consumer” paradigm .

How is it that Jesus followers often have little stamina for working through with others what unsettles them? We can often take Bible classes and quote from the Bible, but we still know very little about patience.

~ Zack Eswine, Sensing Jesus: Life and Ministry as a Human Being

Patience as a Pastoral Virtue

The joke in Christian circles throughout my life has been, “Pray for anything except patience. You don’t want to see what God will give you if you ask for that. Praying for patience is dangerous.”

I’ve laughed and told this joke . Now I think the joke is on me. I never realized how the joke presumes that one can follow Jesus without patience. It also assumes that God will not bother with patience in our lives unless we ask for it. I have been wrong on both counts. One assumption in the joke is true: patience is often learned within the context of trial. The trials seem like interruptions to our otherwise good lives. But more often than not, the trials become the dogs that bark at the impatience and haste that sneak into the halls of our lives. We wouldn’t see the intruder lurking to harm us without such barking. And impatience does harm to us. In God’s eyes, it will do more harm to us than our trials (James 1: 2– 4).

Without patience, love is distorted; faith is not possible; hope fails. Impatience violates love, hurries us into walking by sight, and usurps God by putting the fulfillment of our hopes into our own hands.

Turning to Jesus, a little phrase comes to mind. I had preached on it some time ago: “Eight days later” (John 20: 26). Thomas had said to the other disciples, his friends, that he would not believe in Jesus unless he saw Jesus. I know that Jesus heard those words of Thomas’s. Thomas had once been courageous and willing to die for Jesus. But then the pain of betrayal and the loss of the one he loved became too much for him to try again or believe again. Cynical with loss, Thomas doubted. Jesus met Thomas and gave him the faith he needed. But he waited eight days to do it.

If Jesus’s view of time was clock time, this willingness to wait and let Thomas stew in unbelief seems wasteful.

But Jesus time, or time as Jesus sees it, is not designed to drive us into what we want but cannot get to. For him, time is the means. It’s the gift we are given by which we learn to locate the otherwise “unapparent presence of God.”

~ Zack Eswine,  Sensing Jesus: Life and Ministry as a Human Being