Life Changing Patience

jacob-meyer-32136-unsplashHi, there. My name is Evelyn and I am honored (and a tad nervous) to contribute to this awesome vision and project. I met Angela four years ago in East Asia where our life altering, deep conversations started. I pray that as you read these entries, that you too would be drawn into a deepness and authenticity that comes only from the love that connects us to Jesus. I am so blessed to be apart of this community and journeying with you ladies as daughters of the Most High!

Patience. I’ve been mediating and working out the meaning of this word for a long time now. It’s no wonder Angela asked me to write on it! Funny enough, I am definitely not an expert on the subject, because I’ll be the first to say, impatience is second nature to me. In fact, my husband would say it’s in my genes. I am what the Chinese call “急性子” directly translated as a hothead or an impetuous person. This part of my personality has always been my greatest flaw. My father’s side of the family is characterized with being impatient. When we go out to dinner together, the food must be at our table minutes after we’ve ordered, or the wait staff will be called upon every two minutes. We are that family. Growing up, I inherited these expectations of others, and should people not act as fast as I can think, my emotions start to flare up. So needless to say, after I became a Christian, this was one of the areas Father sought to make new and make whole.

The Bible’s use of the word patience in the New Testament is μακροθυμία, pronounced makrothymía in Greek.

“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” – Romans 2:4

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”

“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”–Romans 8:25

When I looked into this word and its occurrences in the New Testament, my heart wrenched with each passage. Patience is hard. Patience is suffering. Patience requires unwavering hope. Patience requires strength.

But as I kept reading, I also saw the rewards of it too.

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Patience is paired with joy. It is a fruit of the Spirit, and therefore is refined in experience and trial. Patience comes with promise.  It is what God had for us from

the beginning when he prepared a place for us in His kingdom even before we were born. Patience is God’s character, His slowness to anger, and His kindness. Patience is born from His love.

Ultimately, patience requires great faith. When it is exercised, patience creates steadfastness, a conviction of faith.

As I said before, I am an impetuous person. And the greatest lesson I have been learning since I became a Christ-follower is that I cannot rush God’s plan for my loved ones when it comes to salvation. I found that almost everything else in my impetuous personality Father has been able to mold, refine and change.

But, waiting on Father to change my loved one’s heart of stone to a heart of a flesh; to trust in his love for them even when they rebel and mock Him; to pray in tears for years and still believe that God does not wish any should perish but is patient towards them to reach repentance (2 Peter  3:9), this kind of patience dear sisters, has been and still is, the hardest lesson for me on this journey of faith.

This is especially hard after I leave a difficult conversation, where yet again, I am pointing to God’s love and saving grace, and am met with rejection or dismissal. Or when I see my loved ones’ life spiraling out of control, or when they are suffering loss, depression, anxiety or physical need, and I pray and weep uncontrollably as I know there is only one answer, the very one that they refuse to accept.

But, this is also when I am reminded of the kind of patient God we have. This God who saw me as I see them; and waited for me, loved on me, even while I was in sin. Even though it broke His heart to see me in great pain, He didn’t force me into obedience. He gently unraveled his beautiful perfect plan for me, and patiently pursued me until I came willingly back into his arms. He also suffered patiently, enduring every shame and torment, for the sake of our fallen condition.

These images allow me to surrender my pain, my time and my efforts of reaching my family to this God. I am comforted that God loves my family more than I can ever love them.  When I meditate on God’s character, I can hope again. I can trust in Him. And there, I can find freedom from despair and weariness.

God says to me in these moments: Child, you don’t have to place the burden of saving your family on yourself. It’s not for you to bear. I’ve got this. I’ve got them. Give it to me.

So, I continue this journey of praying and waiting. I continue to speak the truth in love and be ready to give a reason for my faith in gentleness and respect. I continue to preach with action and with words, whether I am met with resistance or complacency. I continue to do this all in faith and hope, knowing the seeds I sow in tears, I will one day reap in joy. And in the process, I can rejoice. Because I am being made more like Him, learning to love and wait patiently, as He did for me.

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