A Long Patience

My students and I recently studied William Wordsworth’s poem, “A Sketch,” which describes a man

“….to whom
Long patience hath such mild composure given
That patience now doth seem a thing of which
He hath no need.”

The words “long patience” caught my attention, because I don’t know about you, but it seems I’ve had quite a bit of experience in waiting over the years. Waiting for prayers to be answered. Waiting for situations to change. Waiting for promises to be fulfilled. But recently, I was challenged by these words: “Perhaps you have not waited in the right way? This would take you out of the right place–the place where He can meet you.”¹

Hmm. So the wrong way to wait would be…what? Complaining. Stressing. Doubting. It’s hard not to be there sometimes. However, when one has been trained by “long” patience, it is possible to learn to rest in patience. In the Bible, we are instructed to do just that:  “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37:7


Part of resting is trusting. Trusting that God will do what He said He will do. When we have grown to such a place in our Christian walk where we know how to rest unwaveringly on His faithfulness, we have attained a great victory. As author and theologian Matthew Henry put it, “An active faith can give thanks for a promise, though it be not as yet performed; knowing that God’s bonds are as good as ready money.”

Restful patience and active faith are an unbeatable combination in God’s kingdom.

¹ Cowman, Mrs. Charles E.,  Streams in the Desert. 

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