Expectant Faith: Patience doesn't mean idleness

Sadly, the virtue of patience is often confused with inactive, yet expectant living. Especially when used in the context of, "I'm waiting on God."

Christians are taught how we are supposed to "be patient and wait on the Lord." Somehow that gets interpreted as "get a temporary job you hate, spend what money you make on fleeting joys, and wait for God to open up the door for all of your dreams to come true." But the truth is that it demands a patience that is proactive. This means anticipating that God's promises for our lives will come true in the future and making sure that we are in a position to join Him in the journey.

Patience does NOT mean idleness.

God could easily make our dreams come true despite our lack of action. But do you know what God chooses to do instead? Let us meet Him half way. Because in our active preparation and eager anticipation of God's powerful hand, we prove and strengthen our faith. Remember what James says about faith? Faith without works is dead. If we do not live in a way that shows we are taking steps toward our purpose, why should God ever open the door?

Let me tell you a story. There were two neighbors, who were both farmers. They had been in a drought for nearly a year and business wasn't doing so well. One day God visited them both and told them that it would rain the next day. Overjoyed by this promise, the two men went back in their houses and got ready for bed. The next morning, they look out the window and are met with the bluest of skies, without a cloud in sight. Thinking God must have been fooling him, one man remained in his house. The second man, however, figured if God said it would rain, he better be prepared. So he grabbed a bag full of seed and began walking the rows of his fields, throwing it out on the dry ground! As people passed on the nearby road, he was made fun of and even ridiculed for wasting his precious seed on such a hot and dry day. But that evening, thunder clouds appeared and rain drenched the soil. The first man was devastated that he had wasted his day and was caught unprepared. The second man, however, simply smiled and thanked God for His faithfulness.

In this illustration, which man actually had faith? The man who remained inactive or the man who lived expectantly of God's promises? The man who planted his seed was patient for the rain but didn't let his patience be manifested in idleness. Rather, he did what he could to meet God half way. Patience isn't about sitting at the starting line and waiting for God to tell you to run. It's about running with no end in sight and trusting God will carry you through.

What has God called you to?

(If you're unsure, here's a good place to start.)

What are you doing now to ready yourself for when God moves?

What is one step you can take this week to meet God half way?

Jacob Jolibois is a writer and teacher helping others to craft a simple, yet impactful life. He’s the author of ARROWS | a primer on missional lifestyle design, a contributor to Lifehack and a photographer/designer at MESH.