Don’t Mistake Patience for Apathy

“Patience is also a form of action.” ~ Auguste Rodin

There is a great difference between patience and apathy, though they might look similar to one another.

There’s a story that you might have heard before. It’s about a father with a rebellious son. The son asks for his inheritance early, and the father obliges, and off the young man goes. Wild living ensues, and money is thrown to the wind as if in inexhaustible supply. Meanwhile, the father sits on the porch, day after day.

There is another story. A close friend is sick, and One has the power to change the situation. As his friend lies in bed, ravaged with fever, the other friend stays where He is, day after day, until the situation becomes hopeless.

And another story. The same man, the One who let His friend die, is with other friends in a boat. As they push out into the sea, the man lays down to take a nap leaving His friends alone to deal with the wind and waves that have blown up around them.

Laziness? Perhaps. Apathy? Maybe. The apathetic father, the uncaring physician, and the lazy friend – all waiting. Or perhaps not, because the thing that separates patience from apathy is intentionality. In each of the stories, you find purpose in the seeming inactivity.

How many times do we wonder about the nature of a silent God? When His children go astray? When the One He loves is sick? When circumstances mount against His people? But rest assured – the seeming inactivity of God is not evidence of His apathy; it’s evidence of His patience. And the way we know it’s true is looking over the arc of history and seeing that though there might be periods of questioning on our part, there is never a moment when He is not doing exactly what He has designed to do.

He is the “right time” God, not the “our time” God. So hang on, because the “right time” is coming…

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