Counting the Cost
Impatience results when we are bad at math. When we fail to count the cost of a particular endeavor or situation—the cost to our time, to our wallets, or to our egos — our patience ends up in the red. Any time you have ever thought, “This is harder than I expected” or “This is taking longer than I expected,” you have faced the temptation to be impatient. And judging by how common impatience is, we are all bad at math.
Each of us has areas in our lives where, when it comes to estimating the cost, we miscalculate with vigor. We think marriage will give us bliss at a negligible cost. We think parenting will give our lives deep meaning at no expense. We think ministry or work will give us purpose without requiring much in return. Upon discovering the costly nature of a commitment, we lose patience and long only for it to improve or terminate in the shortest time possible.
We are bad at counting the cost of relationships, but we are also bad at counting the cost of trials. Most of us are observant enough to recognize the universal nature of suffering. We do not expect exemption, but we do tend to expect an express lane to the other side. We are surprised when our trial does not resolve in a timely manner after a round of faithful prayer and fasting. We are not good at math. We believe that the amount of time necessary for us to be made complete through suffering is much shorter than what God ordains.
If we can’t be patient longer than five seconds for a website to load, we are not likely to weather a lengthy trial or sustain a hard relationship very well. Our anger will be easily kindled every time we don’t get what we want when we want it. Amazon gets the package here the same day we order it. If we are not careful, we may begin to resent God’s lack of concern to offer goods and services according to our timetable. We may even question his goodness. We may overlook the possibility that the waiting itself could be the good and perfect gift, delivered right to our doorstep.
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