It’s almost been a year since COVID-19 changed everything for all of us. Now that we’re technically in lockdown here in the UK, I find myself in a strange limbo where things are still happening but not really; reminiscing about how things were in the past and hoping for normalcy to return soon.
Waiting is difficult (for me at least). It’s so easy to grow restless whenever God puts aspects of our lives on hold and asks us to relinquish control over things we value like our studies, extracurriculars, future careers, and relationships with people. In such situations, I often find myself pressing God for an answer as to how long He wants me to wait and why. Yet, as much as I pray, groan, and cry, it can sometimes feel as if I cannot see him anywhere around me – this was exactly what Job felt (Job 23:3, 8-9). The silence is disconcerting and I find myself trying to suppress the fear that God might not fulfil my desires or that He won’t come through for me.
However, I take comfort in the fact that God acts for those ‘who wait for him’ (Isaiah 64:4). Crucially, we are called to be patient in our waiting. Patience is not the same as waiting, because while waiting is something we do, patience is something we offer – we wait because we must, but patience is our gift to our Father while we wait. Patience is the declaration that we love God and trust in His heart; that He has our best interests at heart, and that he will never short-change us even as we wait. In fact, patience looks a lot like perseverance (James 5:7-11), particularly since Paul tells us to ‘be patient in affliction’ (Romans 12:12). He also reminds us that patience, as the fruit of the spirit, is proof that we belong to Christ; it is nurtured in our love for God.
Patience is a beautiful way to live out our love for God, not least because real love is patient (1 Corinthians 13:4). Practically, we can love God through our patience when we faithfully persevere through the less-than-exciting work/routine we are put through, or quietly accept God’s plan for our future even when it differs from our dreams. In other words, patience demonstrates our love for God and our trust that His plan is worth waiting for.
May we continue to offer our Father a calm heart and repent of our agitation at his seeming silence. I pray that we all choose to believe what God tells us about Himself, finding security in the knowledge that truly He does see, He does know, He does care, and He is at work, despite how things appear.