Psalm 40:1 (CEB)

40 I put all my hope in the Lord.
    He leaned down to me;
    he listened to my cry for help.


All day long as I thought over this verse, I wondered about my skills in being patient and watching for God. (Oh, the irony of trying to be patient all day, listening for God’s message as I am wanting to write about “patience.”) Instead, I think I have noticed more about my own impatience.

There is that old adage, “A watched pot that never boils.” How is it then when you are waiting for something, it always seems to take forever or maybe it never happens?

I can admit it. I can be a real pot-watcher. Is that water boiling, yet so that I can cook the pasta?

Like waiting for that pot, I’m watching…. What if we do not see or hear God’s answer to us the way that we think we should? Does that mean that God isn’t speaking to us? Maybe we lament, or even insist —- as if God must answer to us! And perhaps we groan, when we are not hearing the answer that we want. We want what we want; “God, just tell me what you want me to do.”  But maybe this is: Just tell me what I want to hear.

As I watch for that water to boil, I think, what are the signs of water that is about ready to boil… steam, simmer, rolling boil. What are the signs that God is speaking or answering us? Unlike the physics of water, God’s signs are not always clear to us. And perhaps we dismiss the many ways and words that come from God because the message is not always what we are looking for. So we must learn real patience by not thinking that we always know God’s signs.

Then I think about what the Psalmist already knows. To “wait patiently for the Lord” is not by insisting that we already know what God’s signs and ways look like. Perhaps we hear or see a sign, or perhaps not because we are looking for our own answers.  Instead, we learn patience from God and for God, by trusting that Our God knows our cries. Our God knows our ways and we can count and trust that answers will come. God will secure my steps in God’s time.

My pot will boil when it is ready.

By Barbara Carlson

For Pondering & Prayer

How is your patience for God’s words and ways? What are the signs that God is speaking or answering your questions, hurts and needs? Do you ever find yourself discounting answers or ways from God because the words and ways came unexpectedly? Have you ever truly expressed your sadness to God when you have not gotten your hopeful answer?

Prayer: Patient God, please share your patience with us. You know our needs, hurts and ways. Thank you for your endless patience even when we fail to exercise patience for you or the world. Help us to learn listening and loving ways from your good ways. Help us to patiently trust in you always. Amen.