“Patience is a virtue” – but it’s certainly not easy in many coaching situations. You’ve probably faced times when wins aren’t coming as fast as you’d like or your team isn’t improving at quite the pace you’d hoped. Perhaps you’re in one of those situations right now as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Many of us are finding it challenging to be patient as we wonder, “How much longer until things, including sports, can get back to ‘normal’?”
We’re not alone in this struggle to exercise patience. The Apostle Paul’s prayer for followers of Christ who lived in Colossae resonates with us: “We also pray that you will be strengthened with all [God’s] glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need.” (Col. 1:11)
In the original Greek language of the New Testament, the word for patience in this verse could also be translated “long-suffering.” It’s not easy to be patient! But the solution is not to just try harder to conjure up patience from within us. Instead we look to God in dependence, as Col. 1:11 guides us. In Romans 2:4, Paul reminds us of the riches of God’s patience with us. This God who is so rich in patience will graciously give us the power to patiently endure challenging situations as we rely upon him.
A key aspect of God’s empowering to have patience and endurance is this: we’re able to wait patiently upon God for his work in our circumstances. The Bible talks multiple times about “waiting upon God.” In The Practice of Godliness, author Jerry Bridges defines waiting upon the Lord as trusting the outworking of God’s timetable in our lives. It’s believing that our all-knowing, all-wise, and all-powerful God knows what is best and will do what is best at the time that is best.
Again, this is not easy. But there is great reward as we patiently wait upon God in difficult situations. Be encouraged as the psalmist speaks from his experience: “I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.” (Psa. 40:1-3)
Patience is more than a virtue. It’s a key to opening the door to experiencing God’s greater work in us and through us. In this difficult season, Coach, look to the Lord for his power to be patient. Continue to wait patiently upon him.
For reflection: Share honestly with the Lord the ways you’re struggling to be patient. Ask him for his power to continue to walk through this time with endurance and patience. Praise God for his gracious work and his trustworthiness.