We are warned not to pray for patience because doing so inevitably brings situations or circumstances that will need a lot of it! Do you remember your kids’ terrible twos? Parents need patience! And we expect our children to obey when we give them direction. Sadly, that doesn’t always happen, which entails an even stronger dose of patience!
God has a better way. He sets the example by offering long-suffering patience to us, as His children. He knows we will act out or run away, get in the way, and botch attempts at direction and obedience from time to time, too. But instead, He offers His perfect patience in return. In fact, He knows our weaknesses so well, He anticipates them. He patiently gives what is good for us, even when we don't even know what we need. Even when we are waiting, with our arms crossed indignantly across our chests, lips pouted and toe-tapping with selfishness.
Fortunately for us, Love doesn’t keep score.
Colossians 3:12 speaks of the right kind of attitude to wear: "Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."
Let’s be adults who exhibit the kind of godly patience for our two-year-old and our 20-somethings, the same long-suffering patience that God offers to each of us at every age. No expectations attached but given from a heart of love that outlasts those trying times of selfishness and disobedience. Patience gets us over the bumps of the terrible twos and bridges the gaps in the teen years. And godly patience bears an unending love.
God, we pray for patience for ourselves and for our kids. We often lose our tempers and say things we don't mean in the heat of the moment. It causes grief, exasperation, tension, and pain. We stumble through the day, trying to make it to tomorrow instead of giving what you’ve given us—perfect patience. Reveal your heart of love for our kids so that your love will bear a perfect patience in us. Help us have a long-suffering kind of love with no expectations in return. We know that you love them more than we ever could. May your patience flow through our actions, responses, and be a gift to those we care for. Amen.