Impatient People are Weak

ht: Andy Naselli

An excerpt from Piper’s Future Grace on impatience:

The apostle Paul prayed for the church at Colossae, that they would be “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience” (Colossians 1:11). Patience is the evidence of an inner strength. Impatient people are weak, and therefore dependent on external supports—like schedules that go just right and circumstances that support their fragile hearts. Their outbursts of oaths and threats and harsh criticisms of the culprits who crossed their plans do not sound weak. But that noise is all a camouflage of weakness. Patience demands tremendous inner strength.

For the Christian, this strength comes from God. . . . [T]hat connection is faith.

Specifically the glorious might of God that we need to see and trust is the power of God to turn all our detours and obstacles into glorious outcomes. If we believed that our hold-up at the long red light was God’s keeping us back from an accident about to happen, we would be patient and happy. If we believed that our broken leg was God’s way of revealing early cancer in the x-ray so that we would survive, we would not murmur at the inconvenience. If we believed that the middle-of-the-night phone call was God’s way of waking us to smell smoke in the basement, we would not grumble at the loss of sleep. The key to patience is faith in the future grace of God’s “glorious might” to transform all our interruptions into rewards.

In other words, the strength of patience hangs on our capacity to believe that God is up to something good for us in all our delays and detours. This requires great faith in future grace, because the evidence is seldom evident.

Piper, pp. 173–74

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