If there’s one thing that many people struggle with, it’s the virtue of patience. Even people who have been Christians for a long time may struggle with patience, even though it is one of the fruits of the spirit.
Fortunately, many Bible stories can help you be more patient, and we are going to explore some of them in this post.
Examples of God’s patience in the Bible
When it comes down to it, there’s no one more patient than God. Some of the bible stories that show this are:
The story of Moses, God, and the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus)
When God used Moses to take the Israelites out of Egypt, they ended up spending 40 years in the wilderness before they got to the promised land. During this time, a lot of things happened. For one, God provided food and water for them and even helped them fight off those who tried to attack them.
However, the Israelites still got impatient and started murmuring and complaining. At some point, they even started worshiping idols. But despite all their actions, God didn’t cut them off – he just decided to teach them a lesson by making their stay in the wilderness longer than it should have been.
Ultimately, he still let them enter the promised land and become prosperous. This story is one of the greatest signs of patience and grace, especially in the old testament.
Life application: If it were not for the patience of God, a lot of us would be in worse situations than we are right now. The consequences of our actions would be steeper and some of us would already be dead. But God continues to have mercy on us and give us time to change our ways.
As 2 Peter 3:9 states, he is patient with us because he doesn’t want any of us to perish. As such, we should also be patient with others.
The story of God sparing Nineveh (Jonah chapter 1-4)
The book of Jonah starts with God telling Jonah to go preach to the people of Nineveh so that they would turn away from their evil ways. Even when Jonah runs away from his mission, God continues to pursue him for the sake of Nineveh.
Eventually, Jonah agreed to go to Nineveh and preach there. He even let the people of the city know that their city would be destroyed within 40 days due to their wickedness. Upon hearing this, the King of Nineveh and his subjects put on sack clothing, fasted, and started calling on the name of the Lord.
Because of their swift repentance, God chose to forgive the people of Nineveh and spared them. Ultimately, this decision and the original one to send Jonah to Nineveh is evidence of the patience of God.
Life application: If there’s one thing that you should learn from the story of Nineveh is that God is as patient as he is loving. He always wants to give us a chance to turn away from our destructive ways before we are destroyed. Even when others have already given up on us, God always tries to be patient with us.
This is a sign of God’s love for us and is a reminder that he also expects us to be patient with others.
Bible stories to teach children about patience
If you’re trying to teach your kids to be more patient, the word of God is full of great stories of patience that you can read to them. These include:
The story of Abraham and his wife Sarah (Genesis chapter 15-21)
Abraham and his wife Sarah had to patiently wait for years for the fulfillment of God’s promises to them. They particularly had to wait until they were past child-bearing age for the birth of Isaac. This was really hard for Sarah and even led her to offer her maid Haggar for Abraham to sleep with so that he can have a child.
The fact that Abraham agreed to this is a sign that this was a difficult period for Abraham as well, especially considering that God promised to create a great nation from him. However, God eventually fulfilled every promise he made to Abraham and Sarah, drastically changing their lives.
Life application: If there’s one thing that the story of Abraham teaches us, it’s that God’s promises to us always come to pass, even when it feels impossible. As such, we should learn to still ourselves, remain patient, and trust God’s timing.
As we wait, we can pray, study the word of God, and even fellowship with other believers.
The story of Job (Job chapters 1 and 2)
The story of Job is one of the greatest scriptural examples of patience. It starts with God giving Satan permission to test his servant Job. Within a short time of this occurrence, Job finds himself in several difficult situations.
For one, he lost his children, servants, and animals – this made him so upset that he shaved his head, tore his clothes, and dropped to the ground to worship God. To make things worse, Job got sick. Ultimately, things got so bad that Job’s friends came to see him and comfort him.
But in all this, he did not reject his heavenly father, even when his wife advised him to do so. Ultimately, God saved Job and restored his wealth – he even gave him other children.
Life application: The patience of Job teaches us the importance of patient endurance. It reminds us to trust God’s plan even when we are going through trials of many kinds. As several bible verses remind us, the testing of your faith is what builds endurance.
The story of Joseph (Genesis chapters 37-50)
Since he was a little boy, Joseph went through various trials. First of all, his brothers were jealous of him because he was their father’s favorite, and kept having dreams indicating that he would lead his older brothers. So when they had an opportunity, the other sons of Jacob sold their brother Joseph to be a slave.
Eventually, he ended up in Egypt and even managed to be a man of great power despite the hard times he went through there. After over a decade of patiently enduring challenges, he was now second in command to Pharaoh.
So when his brothers came to Egypt to look for food years later, he was in a position to help them. Because he was a patient and forgiving man, he took them in and ensured that they were cared for. Finally, he was able to reunite with his family and enjoy the fruits of his labor with them.
Life application: It takes great patience, kindness, and love to take care of a family member that has rejected and betrayed you. This can be particularly difficult when you are more powerful than you once were. In such cases, it’s always tempting to use your power to get revenge on those that have hurt us in the past.
But this is not what God wants from us, particularly because he doesn’t do that to us himself.
The story of David (1 Samuel chapter 16 to 2 Samuel chapter 5)
In 1 Samuel chapter 16, God instructs the prophet Samuel to go and anoint David. But even after he does this, David doesn’t become king immediately. In fact, it takes around 15 years for this to happen.
During this time, David faces many challenges. For one, he kills the giant Goliath using a stone and a sling, making him quite popular among the Israelites. But this makes the leader of his people, King Saul, jealous and eventually drives him to try to kill David.
Yet even when David had the opportunity to kill Saul, he didn’t. Ultimately, David becomes the leader of his people in 2 Samuel chapter 5, in God’s perfect timing.
Life application: If there’s one thing that we can learn from David’s ascension to the throne, it’s that God’s promises always come to pass at the proper time. As such, there’s no need for us to try to rush them or bring them to fruition in our own power. Feeling the urge to do this actually shows a lack of faith.
The story of Jesus and the woman accused of adultery (John 8:1-11)
This story begins with Jesus teaching people at the temple. As he was doing this, some Pharisees brought a woman who was caught in the act of adultery and asked him whether they should stone her as the law of Moses instructs.
While this seems like a harmless question, it was actually a trap they were setting for him, and Jesus knew this. So he stooped down and started writing in the sand using his finger.
When they pressed him, he said that they could go ahead but that the first stone should be thrown by the person who had never sinned. When they heard this, they started walking away one by one, starting with the oldest ones.
Eventually, all the Pharisees were gone, leaving Jesus with the woman. He then told the woman that he couldn’t condemn her, the same way the Pharisees were unable to condemn her. So he sent her home and told her to sin no more.
Life application: Jesus is undoubtedly the perfect example of patience in the holy bible. Not only was he patient with his disciples every day but also with strangers that society wanted to condemn. This is a clear sign of the pure love of Christ.
So as Christians, he calls us to love people in the same way and be patient with them, even when they make mistakes. That’s why several bible verses talk about this fruit of the spirit and its importance in the new testament. Generally, it’s usually mentioned together with other virtues like kindness, self-control, and goodness.
The story of apostle Paul (The book of Acts)
From the moment the apostle Paul had an encounter with the son of God and received the holy spirit, he had to be patient. To start with, he had to be patient with the disciples and other Christians since they didn’t trust him and rejected him instead.
After all, he used to persecute them before his salvation and presented no evidence that he had changed. So even though he was excited about going out to preach the word of God, he had to be patient. Ultimately, he had to wait for years before he could successfully conduct his first missionary trip.
But at the right time, his ministry grew exponentially and continued to do so until his death. At this point, patience had become natural to him, so much so that he could calmly endure challenges like incarceration.
It’s therefore not surprising that the apostle Paul could patiently endure two years of house arrest towards the end of his life.
Life application: No matter who you are, your life is going to have ups and downs that will require you to have patience. As such, it’s important to build your ability to be patient early on in your life.
Bible stories about patient women
The Holy Bible is full of powerful stories about patient women of God. Two of the most popular ones are:
The story of Ruth (Ruth chapters 1-4)
Ruth was a Moabite woman who was married to a Jewish man. When her husband, father-in-law, and brother-in-law die, she ends up living with her sister-in-law and mother-in-law. Even though her mother-in-law Naomi tells her to go back to her parents, she insists on following her back to Judah.
They end up settling in Bethlehem and Ruth starts regularly gleaning seeds that were left over by harvesters. She particularly did this on the farm of one of Naomi’s relatives – Boaz. When Boaz eventually noticed her and her hard work, he let her continue gleaning on his farm and even told his workers not to harm her.
Ultimately, Boaz fell in love with Ruth and married her. They went on to have a son called Obed who was the grandfather of David and an ancestor of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Life application: The story of Ruth carries several life lessons. But the most important thing we can learn from it is that God rewards loyalty, patience, and perseverance. It’s therefore integral that we embrace the various phases of our lives and remain loyal to those that God has sent to bless us.
The story of Hannah (1 Samuel chapter 1)
Hannah was a Jewish woman who was married to a man called Elkanah. She wasn’t his only wife though – he had another wife called Peninah. While Peninah was blessed with several sons and daughters, Hannah was barren.
And to make matters worse, Peninah used this fact to provoke Hannah. So every year when the family went to the temple to pray and sacrifice to God, Hannah prayed so much that she wept. She begged God to give her a son and even promised him that she would dedicate the child to him.
Ultimately, Hannah had a son and called him Samuel. He went on to be one of the greatest prophets of Israel.
Life application: Hannah’s story shows us what we should do as we wait for the fulfillment of God’s promises – pray. Even when others mock us for our misfortune, we must keep our faith and keep on pushing.
Parables about patience
The parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32)
This parable talks about a young man who asked his father for his inheritance and then left his family home. Eventually, he ended up squandering all his wealth on wild living and was left with nothing. He even had to start working on a pig farm to survive.
So he finally decided to go back home to his father and beg him to make him one of his servants. But when his father saw him coming, he ran to him and embraced him. Ultimately, he gave him new clothes, held a feast for him, and welcomed him back as his son.
Life application: The father of the prodigal son shows great patience by taking his son back and even celebrating his return. This shows us how patient God is with us, even when we go astray. It reminds us that our heavenly father is always waiting for us with open arms to return to him.
Moreover, he would want us to adopt this good attitude in our own lives as well. He would particularly want us to be willing to forgive and open up our hearts to those who have gone astray.
Whether you’re trying to be more patient or are trying to teach your kids this virtue, the bible is full of great stories that can help you out.