Don’t Be Impatient: God Has a Plan

Posted on November 27, 2014 · Posted in Blog, General, Personal

God gives us hopes and dreams for certain things to happen in our lives, but He doesn’t always allow us to see the exact timing of His plan.

While my son Yaser was waiting for me to get his dinner ready, he was impatiently relaying to me a story about an elderly passenger who took what he described as forever to pay the fare, when he was commuting between college and home.

During his story telling, he asked me to not be like the lady and to have my fare ready so as not to slow down the speedy process of life.

He then continued to tell me about another lady who, on his way home (also in his words took forever to pay for her ton of groceries), when in fact all he needed was a packet of tissues and could have gotten in front of her but he said he remembered my lesson to treat elderly with respect (apparently it was my fault the lady took ages to pay and he wasted 10 minutes of his valuable time and missed his bus home).

Patience is a SkillAs I listened to him, I realized it was sad that young people, regardless of the era, are always impatient. Very simply, impatience is the result of us being delayed from having the world be the way we think it needs to be, right now.

We all want good things to happen in our lives, but too often we want them now, not later. When it doesn’t happen that way, we are tempted to ask, “When, God, when?”

Most of us, including young people, need to grow in the area of trusting God instead of focusing on the “when” question. If we’re missing joy and peace, we’re not trusting God. If our mind feels worn out all the time, we’re not trusting God.

The intensity of our impatience tells us how much we think we need to achieve our agenda right now and how much we are not trusting God’s timing for our life.  We need to learn along with our impatient youth that patience is a skill that pays off greatly because we will be able to find balance, happiness and success in our life. More importantly we need to grasp that patience is not only the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.

In fact in Islam, patience is made a condition of success and prosperity. We are taught in the verse:

{O ye who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy; vie in such perseverance; strengthen each other; and fear Allah; that ye may prosper.}(3:200)

After years of being in a hurry as a youth and waiting for the ‘next’ aspect in life, one has learned to appreciate and understand that, yes, things happen for a reason and more importantly they happen in God’s timing not ours. Furthermore we are taught that we will be rewarded accordingly if we wait, patiently. The Quran reads:

{And endure patiently; your patience is not but from Allah.} (16:127)

To help solve our impatience we need to firstly identify our triggers. After all, how can we cure an affliction if we have no idea what the symptoms are?

Invest Your Time while Waiting

Islam teaches that the rewards of those who exercise patience will be doubled.

Some people get impatient in traffic and lines (like my son) and others are impatient with kids. A simple solution is how to invest in the time we feel is wasted while waiting for what we may believe is our need.

We can try to think of things that we can do while waiting and not concentrate on the fact that we are being slowed down. For instance we can take advantage of the delay and seek forgiveness, in fact we may get so caught up in the act we won’t realize that time actually passed.

We often forget the importance of the simple yet powerful supplication in seeking forgiveness. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was known to recite it at least 100 times a day. Rather than complain about how long it is taking you to get somewhere, engage in seeking forgiveness and reap the rewards accordingly.

We are taught that if anyone constantly seeks pardon from God, He will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not. So seeking forgiveness is a win/win combination. We won’t realize how long we were delayed and we will be abundantly rewarded in the process.

Islam teaches that the rewards of those who exercise patience will be doubled.

{Twice will they be given their reward, for that they have persevered, that they avert Evil with Good, and that they spend (in charity) out of what we have given them.} (28:54)

And again:

{Say: “O ye my servants who believe! Fear your Lord. Good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world. Spacious is Allah’s earth! Those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!} (39:10)

If we wait the wrong way, we’ll be miserable; but if we decide to wait God’s way, we can become patient

Remember the saying: “Staring at milk won’t make it boil?”

It’s true, I timed it, twice; once when I was looking the second when I was not. Of course I was trying to prove my mother wrong, turns out she was right.

I for one as a youth and even now admit am guilty as charged of being impatient, I admit though I am trying to work on that aspect. We spend a lot of time in our lives waiting because change is a process. We want change, but we don’t want to go through the waiting process. But the truth is, waiting is a given; we are going to wait. The question is: are we going to wait the wrong or right way?

If we wait the wrong way, we’ll be miserable; but if we decide to wait God’s way, we can become patient and enjoy the wait. It takes practice, but as we let God help us in each situation, we develop patience, which is one of the most important Muslim virtues. A lesson I learnt and hope to pass on to my children.

I once read something which quite hit home describing our impatience. It described how we were dying to finish high school and start college, dying to finish college and start working, dying to marry and have children, and then dying for our children to grow old enough for school so we could return to work and now that we are dying to retire we realize that we forgot to live.

This quote is a reminder to me foremost and to my children and other youths that impatience is not a virtue for one to acquire.

These certainly are times for fast food, fast internet, fast cars, and fast everything. We need to slow down and realize that our lives are preordained no matter how we try to fast forward, God has different plans even if we prayed for something God’s plans are always better.

For instance had my son paid before the elderly lady he would have caught the bus he was so upset he missed; the bus we learnt had an accident and I was spared the heartache of worrying. Luckily not much damage was done but those who were on the bus were delayed longer. Again according to God’s plans.

The Solution

There are times when we might give up if we knew how long it was going to take

The solution to impatience is learning to trust God for how things turn out in our world. We may get impatient because we missed a bus or were not getting things done according to our plan but that’s just it. It’s not our plan but God’s, we are at His mercy and we need to trust that God’s timing and purpose for things is good, even when our plans are delayed.

Instead of trying to control people and things to accomplish our goals according to our schedule, we need to fight the good fight of faith and choose to trust God’s outcome, no matter what it is and how long it takes.

God gives us hopes and dreams for certain things to happen in our lives, but He doesn’t always allow us to see the exact timing of His plan. Although frustrating, not knowing the exact timing is often what keeps us in the program.

There are times when we might give up if we knew how long it was going to take, but when we accept God’s timing, we can learn to live in hope and enjoy our lives while God is working on our problems. We know that God’s plan for our lives is good, and when we entrust ourselves to Him, we can experience total peace and happiness.

The reward of patience is seen in the beautiful verses of the Quran of Prophet Yusuf’s story.

His brothers threw him into the well, but he was patient and so God raised him out of that well. He ended up in the house of one of the most powerful people of Egypt, but then God tested him again. The wife of Al-Aziz, the finance minister, tried to tempt him, but he was patient.

Then again God tested him and threw him into prison. But he was patient for the sake of God and in the end God raised him to a lofty station and he became one of the most powerful people in Egypt. This is the reward of endurance. Who doesn’t want to be among those rewarded for patience?

When we choose to believe God is good and that His love and grace are enough, over time, with His help, we will find ourselves becoming more patient. And the more patient we are, the freer we become to follow God’s plan, which is to love God and love others.

Just as the lyrics read that our children are our future, we must teach them well and let them lead the way through letting them know that even if God answers our prayers by letting us miss the bus, we will one day come to realize just how great and unforgettable the opportunities of other bus stops not in our plan can be.

This can only be reached if we ditch impatience and readily and wholeheartedly embrace God’s will.

Natural memory enhancer