The 21st century has given birth to dozens of great advances in terms of technology. Anything you could possibly think of is available at your fingertips or at a push of a button.
However, there is an added effect. Because of these advancements, we can get goods and services faster than we could a decade or two ago. Don’t know what I mean? Let me give you some examples:
If you are hungry and don’t want to get up and make something or open your fridge to see what’s inside, you can go to websites or apps like Doordash or Grubhub to get something from a restaurant and get it in a half-hour to an hour. This service is even available for fast foods like McDonald’s and Burger King.
What if you want an article of clothing or a household essential, and don’t want to drive to the nearest Target and waste gas (I wouldn’t blame you though considering the price of gas these days.)?
With Amazon, you can get it within a couple of hours, or at most a day or two, if it’s in stock. Even stores like Target and Walmart have this type of service.
While all these things may seem like they have a more positive connotation than negative, there is an issue. It’s “instant gratification”. That means you “fill that hole”, or quench something of yours quickly; A side effect, or to some an added benefit of these technological advancements.
This means, as Christians, some of us come to expect that gratification when it comes to the requests we make to God each day. We want our answer or our problem solved immediately after we say “Amen”. As discussed many times before in this publication, we have to wait for God’s timing, which is the subject of this month’s piece. Also being discussed will be why instant gratification cannot come with being a Christian, hence the title including the word “Myth”.
Let’s start with what the word says about prayer in the first place.: “…but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
Here, Paul is writing a letter to the people about their faith. Notice that nowhere in that passage does he mention that “your answer will come immediately”. There is no instant gratification when it comes to prayer, except of course when you first come to accept Christ. Pastor Mike likes to mention one of the church members who said that “that is one prayer that God will always answer immediately.”
With that said, how does a Christian, living in an age where just about everything is instant, develop patience? I will admit, in my own walk, I have found it harder to develop patience for many things. That includes an answer from God about something that I’ve prayed for. I am also extremely confident that I’m not the only one who has gone through something like this.
To start your process of developing patience, look first to God’s word. Many verses relate to patience in the bible, but the one that I’m gonna kick off with is from Ecclesiastes 3:11 —“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
This means that since God has made everything in this world in time, he can make us beautiful in time as well. Remember what it says in Philippians 1:6 — “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Those verses can help with your mindset of trying to develop patience. If you know that He’s still working on you, you can say to yourself, “Ok, God’s still working on me. I know this will come eventually.”
Another way that could be helpful is to pray, though it may not be easy. Praying for patience is probably one of the hardest things to pray about. Especially now, going back to the earlier points about how instant our culture has become. However, it can be easy to start praying this way: “God, thank you for this day. Forgive me for being impatient and stubborn, and help me to find patience as I continue on my walk with you.”
A simple prayer like that can start the process of shedding that stubborn and impatient nature, and helping you get more patient about the things you pray about, or in general.
We might live in a culture that is fueled by instant gratification, and our walk with God should not be expected to be the same. Look to his word, pray for patience, and remember that it is not to our timing but His timing.