Patience is the fruit of the Spirit. Practically, patience means to live in the expectation of God’s care regardless of the what the circumstances of life appear to be. Our stability in this life depends upon the care of God, not in our ability to predict outcomes.
Life is often hectic, full of the unplanned and unexpected. But nothing is unplanned and unexpected for God. He alone can deliver on what he has planned. Even though Jesus Christ has commanded us not to worry, there is always some circumstance, some event that causes us to doubt God’s faithfulness. So we act on our own anxious assessment instead of seeking God for the path that will honor him. This worry can be seen in the frazzled or angry reactions to a missed appointment, a flat tire or lost keys. It can also be seen when told of a diagnosis of a serious disease. These anxious reactions become a powerful teaching influence that will negatively impact your children. To a child, a lost toy can be every bit as upsetting as lost keys may be to a parent. In both cases, patience is the path to bring honor to God.
I am not saying that the unexpected is easy to address. But, what I am saying that we must continually ask God for the wisdom and faith to realize that he has not abandoned us. Our first thoughts should be to bring honor to his name. This will lead us to take action that is consistent with God’s honor and not our own desires.
This is why patience means to live in the expectation that God will care for us.
Jehoshaphat provides us with a real life example of patience in action. When Judah is confronted with a large, powerful army coming to attack them, Jehoshaphat says:
O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.
II Chronicles 20:12
The king does not implement a plan of appeasement or evacuation or some suicidal panic attack against the advancing army. He simply states the obvious – he didn’t know what to do so he kept his focus upon God. He lived in the expectation of God’s care.