Hebrews 6:12 “so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

I've seen in my life that faith and patience are tied together.  If I can't be patient to wait on the Lord, my faith will start to shake.  In 2 Peter chapter 3 it seems some of the believers Peter was writing to were getting impatient while waiting for the Lord to come back.  Maybe their faith was being shaken, maybe doubts were starting to come in about His return.  Peter's answer to them was that the delay was not because He's a slow God, but it's because He's a patient God - patiently working in secret for different reasons (2 Peter 3:9).  He's much more interested in a quality result than a quick result.

2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you..."

This is why the full answer to some of my prayers for His promises and working out of some circumstances/struggles in my life is sometimes slower than I expect - because He's a patient God who is much more interested in quality than speed.

If I remember how much God loves me and that He is working in secret on my behalf, I can have rest even in the midst of a difficult waiting period.

Imagine two very hungry children sitting in the backseat of a car during a long car ride home.  They are almost home but are getting very anxious because of their hunger pains.  One child is 5 years old and the other child is 1 year old.  Their father who is driving the car tells them “We're almost home, just a little bit longer and then we can give you some food.”  Which child will be able to stop screaming?  The older mature child can stop screaming because he can comprehend the word ‘wait a little bit, your food is coming.’  He can comprehend that his father knows he is hungry, and that he has every intention of feeding him soon.  “You are hungry.  I know and I care.  But you have to wait until we get home and then I can give you food.”  This can calm that 5 year old child who now understands it’s just a little longer to endure the hunger, then he can eat.  There is now hope in him.  But a 1 year old has no concept of ‘wait’ and as far as this baby knows, he or she may never eat again!  So it has no rest.  It keeps screaming because of its hunger pains and lack of understanding of the parent’s love and care which doesn’t allow it to cling to hope, and so there is no rest in its current hunger pain.

A mature believer will be like that older child – able to patiently wait because they are acknowledging the Father is loving and has every good intention for them (that’s faith).  Faith and patience go together.  And when both faith and patience are there, there can be a rest from screaming and panic even in the midst of current pain that's lasting for some time.

God has countless wonderful things in His will for us (Jeremiah 29:11).  He wants us to be free from slavery to our sins, to rejoice always in the Lord, to be able to be people who pray without ceasing, to have a peace that surpasses understanding.  He wants to fill us with His Spirit, to use us to build His church, to have a heavenly home, a good marriage, godly children.  There are so many precious things we can gain if we are obedient and have faith in Him... but not if we give up too early, not if we get discouraged too early.  We must also be “Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying” (Romans 12:12 - NLT).  God doesn’t grant all these things fully instantly, but over time to the patient humble ones who keep on pressing on regardless of what circumstances look like, clinging to hope in the Lord with faith and patience.  Wherever a persisting struggle is for one of His children, the Lord is always saying “I care, and I’m working… just be patient a little while longer as I work.”

1 Peter 5:10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

This wait of ours does not have to be one full of gritting our teeth and sitting idle.  Going back to Hebrews 6:12, see how it starts out: “so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”  This wait of ours is a joyful, hopeful, active wait.  Just like how Noah was occupied doing God's will by building the ark while waiting patiently for what God said would come, we can be active to continue the work He has called us to do in the meantime.  Life doesn't stop because we are waiting on God in patience.  It's in these times that our faith is proved and grown more than it ever would have been had we seen Him finish His work immediately.