"More Than Watchmen For The Morning"

Recently as I was getting my hair cut the stylist said upon learning how many children I have, “You must be the most patient woman!”

I practically choked. “Well, if you mean, not quick tempered, fairly. But if you mean in the ‘waiting for things to happen sense’, then, no, I’m afraid I’m not very.”

Patience (the waiting kind) does not come easily to me. I like efficiency and don’t like to waste time. When I quilt I use speed quilting methods, I get my recipes from a magazine called “Quick Cooking”, and I love the exhilaration I get from riding my bike down steep hills. I don’t even like to sit still for long periods, much less wait on the Lord. So when I’ve recently been counseling patience to a dear one of mine, I’ve found it a bit ironic. “Am I giving advice like a hypocrite?” I’ve wondered. Instead my hope is that I am able to share a bit of what the Lord has taught this impatient woman over the years.

The definition of patience that I teach my children is “Waiting without complaining.” Little children are so obvious in their impatience. When they want something, they want it now! But as we grow we get more sophisticated in hiding our overt impatience, though it is just as real a struggle, at least for me.

Patience of course, is one of the fruits of the Spirit. In the King James this word is translated “longsuffering”, which gives a good idea how we develop this character trait. The two main Greek root words used in the New Testament for patience have these meanings: cheerful endurance, patient continuance (waiting), fortitude; to be long-spirited, forbearing, patiently enduring. Patience then, like most (all?) godliness is best learned in the pressure cooker of the trials of life.

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (NKJV)

As I’ve continued to reflect on the ideas of patience and waiting on the Lord, I’ve focused on some of the key things that help me when I am struggling with this. They are: prayer, submission, and trust. These aren’t a 1-2-3 sequence, but are interrelated.

In prayer I come before Him and lay out my heart, openly. I often turn to Psalms as I pray. I love the complete honesty of David and the other Psalmists. Praying through Psalms teaches me the right way to respond to various situations. Take Psalm 130, for instance:

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD,
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.
If You, LORD, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the LORD;
For with the LORD there is lovingkindness,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Submission comes as I give up my desires to His. “Not my will, but Thine.” Often with this sinner this is not a once for all event, but something I have to do on a daily basis. “Lord, You know what my desires are. But help me to want Your will more.”

Trust is the result when my heart fully accepts that what He wants for me is best.

Patience is not one of those lessons we learn once for all. Sometimes in the midst of a difficult situation, one that is not changing quickly, I feel like saying, “OK Lord, I get it. Can we just move on?” But of course the truth is that I haven’t gotten it, not fully. Still, waiting and trusting Him is somewhat easier in my 40’s than it was in my 20’s, and my hope is that it will be easier yet in coming decades as I experience His faithfulness and learn to trust His sovereignty in every area of my life.

P.S. I was expressing to Tim my concerns about posting this or other serious blogs. I told him that number one: I don’t want to sound preachy, and number two: I don’t want to ever sound like I have it all together, but want to be transparent in showing how far I have to go. Tim laughed and said, “Dearheart, I don’t think you can even pretend to have it all together when it comes to patience.” LOL!


mrsd said…
I enjoy hearing your thoughts. Having an 'honest' husband (ahem) and nine children gives you many years of practical experiences to base all your reflections on. You can 'preach' it because you've lived and are living it. :) But for the record, you don't sound preachy to me. Just an honest woman, sharing her love and heart for the Lord.

Rebecca Nugent said…
Thanks for letting others see your struggles so that they may be encouraged!
Anne said…
Mrs. D and Rebecca,

Thank you for your encouragement; it means more than you know.

And it is wonderful to have a godly, honest, and wise husband who loves me more than I can fathom. He is my number one blog fan, always encouraging me to write and listening to posts before they go up.
Anne, I love your definition of patience "waiting without complaining." You sound just like me, quick recipes, quick sewing projects. *grin* Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

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