“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:4)
There are times when we’re not where we want to be. On a long line. In a traffic jam. In a lousy job. Without a job. In an unhappy marriage. Without a partner. So many situations produce grief and sorrow. Inwardly we cry out, “How long!?” We’re stuck. We groan, “When is this going to get moving? How long do I have to be trapped here?” Of course, we could cut the line, or drive crazily on the sidewalk, or do something in the moment to relieve our frustration that we end up regretting for a long, long time.
It is important to remember that in any vexing situation there are two ways of escape: ours and God’s. Our way of escape always backfires – landing us in shame, regret, guilt, and consequences that are longer lasting and harder to bear than the situation we couldn’t stand. God’s way of escape does just the opposite – it gives us the ability to supernaturally stand what we naturally can’t bear. ”There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be ABLE to BEAR it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)
God’s grace is always sufficient for us. But when impatience gets the best of us we fail to receive the grace of God that could have kept us. Instead of letting the power of Christ be made perfect in our weakness, we act out in anger. We hate delay, denial, not being able to fulfill our desires, getting to the “there” we have in mind. But God’s destinations for us are so much greater than our destinations for ourselves.
Where is God wanting to take us? To where we will be “perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” His goal for us is to be filled with all His fullness; to grow up into Christ in all things; to have us mature in all the fruits of His Spirit. Oh to be more temperate, slow to anger, free of rage and the stupid actions that follow in its wake.
The next time frustration grips you remind yourself of what you need more than anything else. “For ye have need of patience” (Heb. 10:36) Take advantage of the trying situation to gain the good that God works all things together for. “There” may not be where you want to be; but while you’re there, get what you can’t get anywhere else.