I have prayed my entire life for God to give me patience. When I say “my entire life,” I mean that. Every morning for as long as I can remember I have prayed for God to give me patience that day.
“God give me patience in every situation and allow others to see your love through my actions.” That’s it. Every day. I might add to it or have a longer prayer when I’m in my car on my way to work, but those words run through my mind every morning before my feet touch the floor.
The funny thing is, I am no more patient now than I was when I was 4 and my mom prayed that prayer with me before my first day of school.
I am in plenty of situations every day that call for patience. No matter how much I pray, it doesn’t make it any easier to be patient when a situation calls for it.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Evan Almighty, but toward the end of the movie Steve Carell’s character, Evan, is building this ark because God told him to and everyone is laughing at him and thinks he is crazy, but he builds it anyway. What I’m sure most people take away from this movie is that Evan followed God’s will even though no one else supported him and it wasn’t something he particularly wanted to do. But I got something else out of it.
Lauren Graham, who plays Evan’s wife, prays that her family will grow closer. She takes the kids and leaves when Evan refuses to stop building the ark. While she is sitting in a restaurant a waiter comes up to her and they start talking. The waiter (Morgan Freeman who is playing God) says something like this:
“If someone prays for patience do you think God gives them patience? Or do you think He gives them the opportunity to be patient? … If someone prays for their family to be closer do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings? Or does He give them opportunities to love each other?”
I heard this line and my whole outlook changed. I had been praying for patience my whole life, but I couldn’t remember one time where I actually tried to be patient. I just wanted God to all of the sudden make me a more patient person. While I have no doubt that I need God’s help in becoming more patient, I also realized that it is up to me to go into situations with the mindset that my patience is necessary.
God provides me with plenty of opportunities to be patient, so it is my job to continuously pray for that patience and take advantage of the daily opportunities I get to practice my patience.