In the wilderness, there’s a premium on patience as it manifests itself in listening, learning and adapting. The wilderness has little tolerance for the impatient. In fact, it generally eats them for breakfast.

Henri Nouwen observed that “A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.” This definition really speaks to our situation at this time, doesn’t it? We’re all living in circumstances we didn’t (and wouldn’t) choose for ourselves. Having the willingness to live it out to the full in faith that God is using the situation and us—well, that’s exactly what patience is about.

When this attitude is present, the actions of patience will follow. When it isn’t there, we will struggle. In the wilderness, patience can be one of our greatest challenges (ask Israel). We must continually remind ourselves that our Father is in control, fully aware of our situation and completely present among us.

And then act like it.

No wonder Chaucer spoke of patience as “a conquering virtue.”

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:6-7).

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