Waiting Patiently for Heaven

“Patience is a virtue,” or so goes the saying. But you know what? It’s true.

Think about it for a moment. For instance, you’ve probably read Harry Potter. But did you know J.K. Rowling was initially rejected by no fewer than a dozen publishers? Or that it took Thomas Edison – by his own estimation – at least 1,000 tries to invent the incandescent light bulb? Or that Julia Child didn’t publish her first cookbook (Mastering the Art of French Cooking) until she was nearly 50?

Those people – and many, many more – all showed great patience. It’s probably a good thing, too – if they weren’t patient, or if they’d given up, the world would be a very different place indeed.

But what about patience in the Bible? There’s the Israelites, who at various times had to wander the desert for 40 years, were in Babylon for 400 years, and also spent many years in Egypt before better things happened. There’s also Sarah, who in Genesis had her first child when she was in her 90s. And, of course, there’s Jesus, who didn’t start His ministry in earnest until He was about 30 years old; before then, He was toiling as a carpenter.

The point is, God sometimes has us wait for things. Of course, the trouble is, we often don’t want to. And in 2018 – where we expect everything, now, with attention spans getting shorter and shorter – that’s harder than perhaps it’s ever been.

Yet that’s sometimes what we must do. After all, God is patient – He was around long before any of us, and He’ll be around long after we’ve left this earth.

Aside from providing examples of people who were patient, the Bible tells us directly time and time again to be patient. As Romans 8:25 (ESV) says: “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Similarly, Romans 12:12 (ESV) says: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

 It’s not easy, of course. But what better reason for being patient is there than knowing that God has great things planned for us? Romans 5:4 (ESV) also says: “And endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”

And that’s the crux of it: hope. Isn’t that what keeps us going? Hope of a better life. Hope of something different. And hope of an eternity in Heaven.

And, seeing as that’s well, eternal, it’s well worth waiting a little bit now for, isn’t it?

After living for several years in Europe, Ben pursued a lifelong dream and moved to New Zealand. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Business Insider, The New Zealand Herald, Idealog, Deutsche Welle, and others. He can be found on Twitter @benmack_nz.