If you pray for rain, you’re going to have to deal with some mud. This quote hung on my bulletin board all through high school and college.
In a small group a few years ago, I asked the ladies sitting around me to pray I would have patience with my children. One of them responded, “I’m smart enough to have already learned never to pray for patience. If you pray for patience, God will give you situations that actually test your patience.” I laughed, but she was absolutely serious.
Isn’t that the point, though? You should ask God for things you need, and you should expect Him to grow you through the process. If you pray for patience yet never face a situation where patience is needed, has God really helped prune that fruit of the spirit in you?
Yesterday I did not have patience. There was just one too many Thomas engines on the floor, one too many Zingo tiles thrown around, and one too many "but mom" spoken. I’m sad to say I didn’t respond with love and grace. I responded with frustrated discipline. As I pondered the day last night, I realized not once, not even once did I ask God for help.
Reality is, there are going to be situations that test my patience whether I pray for them or not. The wise thing to do would be to go ahead and pray it forward. Be in the right mindset for when these things do come my way.
Sanctification is a beautiful process … but it is also hard and messy and tiring. This Christmas season, as I remember the birth of that most precious Baby years ago, I want to pray every day that I grow just to be a little more like Him. My feet may get muddy, but the end result will be worth the dirt.