I asked God to teach me patience. He did. He is. I have been continually waiting since I prayed that prayer. Patience doesn’t come immediately after the “amen”, it comes after trial, and test, and time…sometimes lots of time.
I asked God to give me strength and endurance. He did. He is. I’ve never been through so rigorous a workout, never been so bone tired. Strength and endurance do not come immediately after the “amen”, they come from stretching and breaking tissue that will heal and rebuild itself, making itself stronger. They come from consistently running longer and more rigorous trails; through hills and valleys, along stretches that seem to have no end, then “just a little farther”, pushing past the breaking point and beyond.
I asked to be able to love as He does. I asked for peace. I asked for joy. He answered my requests by surrounding me with prickly people who need love. He put me in the middle of chaos. He filled my little world with pain, and loss, and grief. The fruit of the Spirit doesn’t come after the “amen”. That fruit comes from cultivating a heart response of “Yes, Lord”, to His commands; it comes from practice.