Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
Have you ever noticed the number of times we need to wait? And it’s the little things that require this—like going to the doctor.
If my appointment says 10 am, I’m fairly certain I won’t be walking through his door at 10—usually it will be 10:15 or later. Or you wait for that tradesman who said he’d come at 2 pm!
For some, it’s no big issue. For me, it’s quite a challenge, as I get impatient. I am bound by times, which can often be frustrating. Maybe not so for you.
There’s Much Waiting in Life
There is a lot of waiting in life. What about when a woman is to give birth to her baby. No-one can tell the exact minute her child will be delivered. As children we wait to start school, and the little boy or girl looks forward to that first day of adventure.
In fact, when you think about it for a moment, life is full of waiting. We wait to find our first job. We stop at the traffic lights—annoying when we’re in a hurry. We wait in line at the supermarket. And, if we’re honest, we dislike it.
Patience is needed in life, but few virtues are harder to come by than patience. It’s a real struggle. Two of the great laws of life we must eventually learn are:
- Many circumstances we have in life are uncontrollable: many things in life are beyond our control.
- Things don’t always go as planned: life just doesn’t always go the way we want it to go.
When It’s Easy to Lose Our Patience
Especially there are three times in our life when we need an extra dose of patience. Let’s take a look at them:
1. When circumstances are uncontrollable
We like to be in control of everything that happens—relationships, work, circumstances. But that’s not really what happens.
I heard of someone who was told never to say under the circumstances to describe a situation. She should ask, What are you doing under those circumstances? Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on top of those circumstances.” I think it’s worth thinking about. George Bernard Shaw said, “People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are.”
What we need to remember is that my circumstances do not define me. When circumstances are uncontrollable, we often lose our peace. Much of life is beyond your control. You sit in gridlock traffic for hours and miss an important event. A couple keeps trying desperately for a baby, and it just isn’t happening. When these things—big or small—happen, we get frustrated and lose our peace of mind.
Did you know God has promised peace of mind, because it’s a fundamental need of your life? One of the Hebrew names of God is Jehovah Shalom. ‘Shalom’ means peace. Jehovah Shalom means I am the God of peace. If God says, I’m offering you a gift of peace, he means it. It’s not something you work for. It’s not something you deserve. It’s not something you try for. You don’t beg for peace. You don’t plead for peace.
Isaiah 26:3-4 (CEV) says:
The Lord gives perfect peace
to those whose faith is firm.
So always trust the Lord
because he is forever
our mighty rock.
But here’s what Jesus says to us: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 – NLT).
2. When people are unchangeable
With this kind of people, we tend to lose our peace. People naturally resist change. And they resent it when we try to change them. The quickest way to lose our peace of mind is to try to change somebody else, because most people are just not going to change. We can’t change people; we can try to influence them—but that’s about all.
3. When problems are unexplainable
In this situation, it’s easy to lose our peace. We know that life is not fair. But who told us it would be? A lot about life doesn’t make sense. Not everybody has a happy ending. Things don’t always turn out right. That’s when we need a special dose of patience. What makes it more difficult is that we are not always going to know why. And when we don’t know why, we tend to get anxious, nervous, and stressed, and we lose our peace.
Peace has nothing to do with problem-free living. It is simply a gift that you must accept, and it’s available to you today.