vs. Restlessness
Accepting a difficult situation from God without giving Him a deadline to remove it

Key Verse

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope.”
Romans 5:3–4

The operational definition of patience is “accepting a difficult situation from God without giving Him a deadline to remove it.” Difficult situations, along with pain and suffering, are consequences of the Fall of man. These include natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes, as well as results of unwise decisions or sinful choices. Some difficulties are brought about by the intentions of evil people who are serving Satan in his opposition to God. When experiencing circumstances that we do not like and cannot control, we must endure patiently. In time, the trial will pass. God encourages our hearts and strengthens our faith through difficult situations. He gives us grace to endure hardships and become more like Jesus as we trust and yield to Him.

A patient person will accept the season of life that he is in, fulfill his responsibilities, and wait on God’s timing for a new season.
A restless passenger on a family vacation may say, “Are we there yet?” instead of redirecting his energy to enjoy the journey.

The opposite of patience is restlessness. A restless person is unable to calm his heart because he is not trusting God. He may try to control a situation or act impulsively. Rather than accept his circumstances, he may resent them and complain, directing anger and blame toward those he holds responsible for his predicament. Because he is anxious, he will not graciously wait or endure through distress. Even normal delays or disruptions are trials to him. He may become frustrated with a sister who is taking too long to get ready, or he may burn his tongue on some hot chocolate because he is unwilling to wait for it to cool. The restless person may often be told to “slow down” or “relax!” Peace will come more readily to the impatient person as he believes that God is good, loving, and in control.

Evaluation Questions

  • Do I love God and expect Him to work all things for good in every situation?
  • Do those who know me well sense in me a quick-­tempered, anxious spirit or a joyful, restful one?
  • Am I trusting God to answer my prayers in His time, not mine?
  • Do I continue to do my responsibilities while anticipating a future activity?
  • When praying, do I pause, wait, and listen for God to speak?
  • Do I rejoice in God through trials instead of becoming bitter?
  • Am I forbearing, gracious, and forgiving toward others?
  • Am I willing to wait to speak, rather than interrupt a conversation?
  • Do I acknowledge God’s sovereignty in difficulties and by faith praise Him for what He is doing through the situation?

More About Patience

“No one will ever know the full depth of his capacity for patience and humility as long as nothing bothers him. It is only when times are troubled and difficult that he can see how much of either is in him.”
St. Francis of Assisi
Transformation results as we behold the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Corinthians 3:18). As we see God’s character through testimonies in Scripture, we grow in our understanding and obedience to His Word. Here are ten aspects of Patience with supporting verses found in God’s Word.

God enables me to:


Expect Him to work in unexpected ways.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” I Corinthians 2:9–10

Rest in His timing.

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.” Psalm 37:7

Rejoice in trials.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” James 1:2–3

Accept the things I cannot change.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:11–13

Wait on Him to change my circumstances.

“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

Wait for the right time to speak.

“But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.” Matthew 10:19 “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

Use waiting time productively.

“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” Colossians 4:5

Avoid restlessness.

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” John 14:1 “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

Give others room to grow.

“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” Romans 15:1

Wait in hope.

“I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.” Psalm 130:5 “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” Romans 8:24–25

Patience in Scripture

The Long Wait and the Unexpected Visitor

“And a certain man was there [pool of Bethesda], which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.”
John 5:5
Jesus often gave answers or worked in ways that people did not expect. He called unlikely candidates to be His disciples. At a wedding in Galilee, Jesus performed a miracle which surprised the host. In the Temple, Jesus observed clerks and merchants cheating the people who came to pay temple taxes or buy animals for sacrifice. With zeal for His Father’s house and authority, Jesus startled everyone as He overturned money tables and drove out the animals, declaring His Father’s house was a house of prayer. Once, Jesus gave perplexing answers to the questions from a nighttime visitor. On His return to Galilee, Jesus rested at a well in Samaria where He proclaimed the Kingdom of God. This amazed His disciples, since Jews did not customarily speak to Samaritans. In Galilee, a certain nobleman begged Jesus to come to his house to heal his dying son. But Jesus had a different solution. He told the nobleman to return home, and he would find his son well. The man believed Jesus, and his son was healed! Afterward, as many Jews entered Jerusalem for a feast, Jesus approached a pool called Bethesda near the Temple. Whom would Jesus notice there? In what unexpected way would Jesus respond to a need?

Revealed in Nature

Monarch Butterfly

When the chrysalis of a monarch butterfly finally splits open after ten days of waiting, the butterfly must quickly free itself. After emerging from the chrysalis, the butterfly pumps fluid from its abdomen into its wings to expand them. The butterfly must then wait several hours for its wings to dry before it can take off.

For Kids

Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum

The Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum uses examples from the lives of men and women in the Bible whose walk with God resulted in good character or whose lack of faith produced poor character.

View the Patience booklet sample:

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Free Resources for Patience

Enjoy these selections from the Biblical Character Illustrated Curriculum that are fun and memorable!

Bible Story Coloring Page
Verse & Definition Word Search
Related Hymn Sheet Music
“Quiet waiting before God would save from many a mistake and from many a sorrow.”
J. Hudson Taylor