“May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:5, NLT).
You’ve probably heard and/or prayed the prayer of the impatient: Lord, give me patience and give it to me now! We want everything to be like microwave popcorn—done in two minutes. If a web page takes longer than a few seconds, we quickly move on to one that loads instantly. And impatient drivers? Everyone’s in a hurry and look out if you’re in their way.
God knows us. He understands how we think and he cares about what we learn and how we learn it. This prayer asks God to lead us into understanding, not give it immediately. That wouldn’t be good for us or others. We learn the things of God as we yield to his gentle leading (which he also helps us do), as we let him guide us first to see how much he loves us, then to love others in the same way and finally to learn patient endurance. The endurance is necessary because we, like little children learning to walk, will stumble, fall and even get hurt in the process. In our impatience we might get angry at God, ourselves and others and feel we are going backward, not forward. In his love, in his own patient endurance, God helps us up and continues to teach us, never giving up even as we continue to stumble.