I remember sitting at a red light staring at it with my right foot on the accelerator and left foot on the brake. Without taking my eyes off the red light, the moment it turned green I shot forward. I was immediately hit hard in the left side by a car that had run the light. Legally, I was not at fault. But I knew that I was partly to blame since I had impatiently taken off without looking. I was 16 at the time, shaken up a little, but thankfully, not injured.
The story is told of the lady who prayed, “Lord please give me patience; and I want it right now!” My lack of patience along with my carelessness, could have cost me my life. Truth is, impatience can hurt us in more ways than we can imagine.
In Luke 21:19, Jesus said, “By your patience, posses your souls.” Of this, Matthew Henry says, “In suffering times, set patience upon the guard for the preserving of your souls; by it keep your souls composed and in good frame, and keep all those impressions which would ruffle you and put you out of temper.” Henry is saying that your impatience can hurt you. Impatience is actually the manifestation of emotions out of control.
Our ability to handle delays, disappointments, and detours will determine our level of joy and peace. When we finally learn that we can’t control all that is going on around us, we should then decide to control what is going on within us. Patience comes with spiritual maturity, and is also the outcome of getting hit several times by lunging forward too quickly.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 says, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.”
Elisabeth Elliot once said, “Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands.”
Patience is a virtue, but it is also evidence of a consistent walk with our Lord.