Dealing with Impatience 01-28-17

I know it’s only the beginning of 2017, but most of us start the New Year with plans, goals, and desires we hope to fulfill in one way shape or form. This year I have determined to change a couple of things in my life to make me more productive. I want to please God, love my family, serve my church, and be a positive influence in my community.

Those are good desires BUT when desire becomes demands and demands are not met, we can become angry and disenfranchised, which leads to being judgmental and destructive of anything that gets in the way of our desires.

Last time I checked I’m not in control of the world, but sometimes I forget that God is, and he is working all things together for his glory and our good (Romans 8:28). I have a tendency to push the harder things to later dates, and when I don’t have the time to finish them well, frustration and anger can set in. People pay when I have a disordered life.

Someone once told me “the good is the enemy of the best”. Being busy does not necessarily mean you’re being productive and so this year I have a commitment to doing the harder things earlier in the week.  I have a tendency to do a lot but leave the harder things to later in the week.  Unfortunately, I’m not in control of time and events that come my way so frustration can set in when unexpected events fall in my lap and the hard things I need to accomplish get challenged by time. 

In Genesis 16, there is a story about a woman named Sarai, the wife of Abram, the Father of the Jewish faith. Sarai wanted a child desperately. In that day, a woman’s ability to bear children, especially a son, was almost a necessity to staying married. In the eyes of people, children were a sign of God’s blessing, whereas being childless was a sign of dishonor and reproach (Gen 21:16). The hard thing for Sarai to do was trust in God and his timing.

Sarai was now seventy-five years old, and she had never conceived a child. She felt the shame and remorse, the dishonor that women of that day felt from being childless. Throughout her life, she had been eager to bear a son for Abram, but her desire had never been fulfilled. Sarai was childless, and now in her old age she was desperate and becoming more and more impatient. In fact, her patience was running out, and impatience was gaining control of her heart. She was impatient with God who had promised Abram that he would have a child. Her desire would soon become a demand

When demands aren’t met, we judge events and people and then punish those who get in our way. The point in this short story is this: an unfulfilled desire can cause impatience; it can cause us to act before we should, to ignore God’s will as well as God’s timing. Impatience can arouse us to move long before we should to devise plans and programs, to plot and scheme or to act and react in ways that are not pleasing to God and destructive in our lives.

Impatience can cause us to try to fill the desire ourselves instead of waiting upon God. This is exactly what happened to Sarai, and it is what often happens to us. Sarai desired to have a child BUT when she did not have the desire granted, she chose to give Abraham her female servant to bring forth the promised child rather than wait on God. Everything went downhill once the desire became a demand.  Eventually, her servant looked down at her barrenness, Sarah treated her servant harshly and the servant ran away (Genesis 16:4-6).

Paul Tripp a well-known biblical counselor states that conflict does not start necessarily on the outside but in the heart. James 4:1+2 says “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask”.

We often ask for the wrong things and when we don’t get them, we blame God and others. We have to remember we are not ultimately in charge. While we can’t control the circumstances we can control the way we handle them. Desires are good things. I want my children to be successful, I want my church to love Jesus, I want the Patriots to win the Super Bowl, and I want my wife to be happy.

 But when things don’t happen in the time or in the way I want them to, I have to be careful of trying to create an ending God hasn’t scripted. I need to remember that while I’m responsible to honor God, He is still sovereign and in control of all things. When I forget, I make demands of everyone and that is a sign that I am impatient and it does not promote the good of all.

This year I want to challenge you to ask yourself three questions as you work through desires of the heart. 1- Is my desire something that God wants me to have? 2- Will I not make demands on  God and others when my desire is not fulfilled? 3-Will I trust him, knowing that he always is working out good, even in trying times? If you say yes to all three, I believe you will be far less impatient, and much more at peace with God and man. 10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10)