I am thrilled to share today’s guest post on patience with you, written by my dear friend and fellow Hope*Writer, Amanda Andrus! Amanda and I met through a small group two years ago and since then have developed a deep friendship, bonding over our similar life stage and love for writing. I have followed along on the journey she writes about below and can personally attest to her heart and faithfulness through all the ups and downs of the last year. The truth she shares is hardwon, and I know it will bless you.
Pursuing His Patience, Trusting in His Plan
Maybe I shouldn’t have offered to write a post on patience while trying to buy a house.
When I told Mary K I could write this, I was thinking about all the past situations I could write about. The many times before that God has come through after long periods of waiting.
In retrospect, the timing of this post seems like a clear invitation for an extra adventure.
And boy, does it feel like we’re getting one.
My husband and I have been considering buying a house since late last winter. First, we had to do our taxes, but surprise! Our accountant filed an extension without telling us. When that was finally finished, we learned our plan to pursue manual underwriting wouldn’t work for the first-time homebuyer program we wanted to use. More waiting.
When we were ready to start looking at houses, we quickly found a fixer upper we both loved, but it was a foreclosure with some extra complications that pushed it out of our reach. We explored every avenue we could think of but only found dead ends.
We kept looking but eventually resigned ourselves to waiting until next year.
No sooner had we made that decision, than we heard of some policy changes in our apartment building. Suddenly, staying put would make aspects of my self-employed husband’s job much more difficult. Was this God showing us we needed to move sooner rather than later, after all?
Then, a path seemed to open for us to buy the foreclosed fixer-upper! There were still many unanswered questions, and we received this news only three days before the deadline to opt-out of our lease. We sought God’s direction for our next step and sensed it was time. We gave notice that we’d be leaving our apartment and put in an offer on the house ASAP. Two days later we got the news.
They rejected our offer. No counteroffer, simply a rejection.
AND we learned the house had been sent to auction—but none of those details were available yet. As I write this, they’re still not.
We’re waiting again. And this time, we have to be out of our apartment by the end of the month.
Needless to say, we’re getting a fresh, crash course in patience. Maybe you are too right now.
I’d like to share a few thoughts that have been encouraging me, and I pray they might do the same for you.
God is far more interested in our character than our comfort and convenience.
Now, I want to be careful as I say this, because maybe, like me, you struggle with the faulty-yet-persistent belief that says, “If I want something really badly, it must not be God’s will for my life.” I don’t mean God’s goal is for us to be miserable.
Scripture tells us that he is a loving Father who delights in us, and part of the way he demonstrates that delight is by giving good gifts. Sometimes those are big, life-altering things; sometimes they’re tiny, “just because I love you” gifts that he simply wants us to enjoy.
However, like any good parent, he knows there are plenty of times when no or not yet are the best answers. Sometimes we may feel desperate for a particular gift at a particular time, but he knows there’s something far more valuable to be gained.
James tells us we can actually consider it joy when we face different kinds of trials, “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).
In Romans, Paul says it like this, “. . . we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
When God says no or not yet, it can be helpful for us to remember that he’s asking us to be patient for a good reason. He’s not toying with us or stringing us along; he’s growing us and deepening our character.
As he develops our character, we can find comfort and strength in remembering His.
When the bottom seemed to be falling out of our plans last week, I was initially frustrated with myself for how much it upset me. Where was my faith?
Then I remembered just how many psalms include discouraged, even despondent, sounding pleas. The psalms are such a gift to us, especially in times of struggle. They show us that it’s healthy to be honest about how we feel. God can handle our entire range of emotions!
But here’s the key: our emotions don’t get the last word.
In Scripture, we find many brutally honest descriptions of discouragement and desperation, but these are almost always followed by an intentional shift in focus toward the unchanging truth of who God is. Psalm 13 is a great example of this:
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
I also love the way we see a similar choice to praise in Lamentations. Most of the book is—unsurprisingly, given the name—filled with lament. It’s gut-wrenching stuff. Yet right there in the middle of chapter 3 is this beautiful, hope-filled passage:
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
I love that when we turn our minds and our hearts toward God, it not only gives him the adoration he deserves, it also helps us regain perspective and remember that he is trustworthy and good. His character never changes, so we can safely place our hope in him.
Personal praise can help us grow in patient perseverance.
As we remind ourselves of who God is and transfer our energy from worry to praising him, it can also be helpful to remind ourselves of ways we’ve seen him come through for us personally.
Earlier this summer, the Holy Spirit nudged my husband and I to take two specific steps of faith that would require God to provide. The first was to go ahead and plan to take a vacation. We were planning to skip it this year in order to save more money, but we sensed God telling us that the time of rest would be important for us and that we could trust him to provide for it.
The second nudge was to change the way we were giving. My husband and I both have variable incomes, and the Spirit challenged us to begin tithing at the beginning of each month based on the amount we were trusting God to help us earn. We independently came up with the same faith-stretching number, so we decided to go for it.
God absolutely blew us away with the way he provided. By the end of that month, we had not only earned enough to cover our monthly expenses and contribute to savings, we’d also brought in enough to cover our vacation expenses and time away from work! We actually earned MORE than the faith-stretching amount for which we’d trusted him!
Two weeks ago, as we prayed about ending our lease, my mind kept returning to the way he has been so generous in leading and providing for us throughout the summer. He didn’t have to do it, but he was generously proving himself to us in a new way so our faith would be freshly bolstered as we took our next steps. During this extra-uncertain time, it has been immensely helpful to keep returning to and praising him for what I have experienced of his goodness and love.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely waiting on God in some area or another. (And if you’re not now, you probably will be soon!) May we be encouraged by the fact that God has a good purpose for our patience, and may he strengthen us with all power, according to his glorious might for all endurance and patience with joy (from Colossians 1:11).
Meet The Author
Amanda Andrus is a wife and a mom of two young boys. She loves quiet mornings, good books, and time in nature. In between serving as toy-dispute referee and maker of a million PBJs, she helps writers polish their words. You can learn about working with her and read her sporadic blog posts at www.amandaandrus.co.