I’ve struggled with being patient all of my life.

Once, I even purchased a house without telling my husband. It was awful. I had to make a lot of apologies. For me, I get impatient when I want something that will make me happy or feel secure and God isn’t moving fast enough.

Can you think of a few times when you struggled with impatience and jumped ahead to do the opposite of what God wanted for your life?

  • Your dream guy isn’t proposing fast enough so you compromise your standards in order to keep him….
  • You find a just-over-the budget dream home, but panic because you’re afraid of not getting it so you take out a hefty loan that keeps you up at night…
  • Your spouse is struggling or not getting with your program so you resort to nagging or lecturing to pressure him straighten up his wayward behavior.

It’s been said that while the early bird gets the worm, it’s the second mouse gets the cheese. We have to be careful and not jump too quick for something that God isn’t ready to give us. 

I love the story of the Israelites crossing the Jordan River before they entered the Promised Land (Joshua 3). God told Joshua to instruct the millions of Israelites to let the ark of the covenant start out toward the river before them. Joshua told the people to keep a half-mile distance or a 15-minute walk between themselves and the ark. Since the ark was the physical presence of God, the big picture principle behind the command to stand back was this: Let God lead.

For me, this distance is also symbolic. Sometimes we get in a hurry when we’re trying to get something done. We pray and ask God for help or a favor. At first, we try to be patient. But when God is taking too long to get us what we want, we rush ahead into the unknown just because we’re too scared to stand still. But there was a reason why God told the people to wait for the ark to lead. “Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.” (Joshua 3:4 NIV).

When life is uncertain, this is the most important time to slow down and let God lead.  Let’s be honest, when you don’t really know what you’re doing or where you’re going, there’s a greater chance that you’ll mess up or hurt others figuring things out.  But, God knows exactly what He is doing in your life at ALL times! There are no dark corners in God’s vision. He will always lead you to His best for you. 

What’s a clue that you’re rushing ahead of God? You know that you’re rushing ahead of God when you start stressing out, controlling people, and worrying about details. When you wait on God to lead you through uncertain times, you‘re far enough back to let God pave the way for you.

Learning to be patient and let God lead is a hard lesson. But every time I let go and let God, He shows up and leads me through uncertainty in a way that allows me to sleep well each night and manage through tough days with peace, strength, and courage.