Do you have a long fuse or a short one when you get dawdling service at restaurants? For some reason, life hands us a long line of slow servers. At lunch not long ago my family got poor service from our waiter. Here’s what happened.
I never let on to the waiter that I was miffed, yet inside my fuse was burning. Here’s why:
- The table next to us ate and left before we did, though we arrived at the same time.
- Our water glasses were often empty and the food order came out wrong.
- The waiter fouled up the bill.
- I was late getting back to work.
But then, just before we left, I felt like a complete idiot. The waiter made mention that it was his first day. You see, the problem wasn’t his incompetence.
It was my impatience.
Life hands us a line of slow servers. Does God offer some help?
Impatience Stems from a Dark Place
When the Apostle Paul wrote, “Love is patient,” he literally wrote: “Love is being patient” (1 Cor. 13:4).
Because the word for patience is a verb, it means patience is a decision we make. In fact, it’s a continual decision. We choose between patience and impatience every moment of every day. And the basis for that choice?
Love—or a lack of it.
Eventually that choice becomes a habit.
Why We Choose Impatience
Since impatience is a decision, why do we so often choose it over patience? The verse that follows, “Love is patient,” gives us the reason love makes that choice: “it does not seek its own” (1 Cor. 13:5).
The motive of impatience is selfishness. We want what we want—and right now, please.
- We want perfect service from the waiter now.
- We want the light to change now.
- We want the fancy car, the newest iPhone, and the recognition we deserve now.
- We want God to answer our prayers now.
Selfishness refuses to wait on God and trust God to be God in His time. Selfishness wants God to act right now. But do we really?
Not if we knew better.
How We Can Diffuse Our Impatience
Since God is love, it makes sense that Scripture reveals Him as patient.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. —2 Peter 3:9
God chooses patience toward those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ, giving them time to place their faith in His Son who died for their sins and rose again. Because God needs nothing, He chooses patience completely for the benefit of others.
That . . . is our model.
- Love is being patient.
- Love stems from a lack of selfishness.
- God’s grace extends to us when we sin—even though we know better.
In the same way, patience is how we choose to respond to those who light our fuse.
Even when it’s not their first day on the job.
Tell me what you think: What helps you diffuse your impatience? To leave a comment, just click here.