Patience is better than pride
By Duduzile Ndlovu
A long time ago, it could be two decades ago, teenage me read a devotional that asked me to choose if I wanted to be Joseph or Samson.
Joseph had a dream; he saw his future and was so excited that he told his brothers about it.
His father saw his future too and made him a beautiful coat.
He lost the coat when his brothers sold him into slavery.
He lost another coat he had as head servant in Potiphar’s house.
Joseph seemed to be going down down down and not up up up. Yet when his time came, his name was mentioned to the right person at the right time and overnight Joseph became second only to the king.
Samson’s life on the other hand…
did not end on a high note like Joseph’s.
Samson had the gift and strength but he didn’t have the character to sustain it.
Although his life ended with him killing many Philistines, one can’t help but wonder what could have been.
What could we be reading about Samson had he listened to his parents and not married a Philistine?
What could have been, had Samson learnt to buffet his body in order to gain the kingdom?
So I decided I wanted to be a Joseph.
I wanted a good ending.
I wanted to go through the process and carry God’s glory well.
Fast-forward to this year…
There’s a big project I’ve been working on.
My plan was to finish it this year.
I grew impatient with myself- the process was taking too long!
Then God led me to this Scripture:
“The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
and patience is better than pride.”
I didn’t like it. Especially that last bit- “…patience is better than pride” – it got me.
But still I thought: I’m ok God. Can we get back to talking about me finishing this project?
It took me the whole year to complete only a tiny bit of work that I could have done overnight because I didn’t want to let God talk about my pride.
It would be so easy for God to answer my prayer to just finish but He is always interested not in the outward things but He looks at the heart (1 Samuel 6:17).
We need to trust in the process.
God takes us through even when everything seems to be going against the vision we have and every prophetic word we received.
Like Joseph you might be going down, down down! Yet in that going down, God was laying, in Joseph’s heart, the foundation- the capacity for Joseph to represent Him well when he got to be second in command to Pharaoh in Egypt.
Why the process?
I spent some of my childhood years in a new township.
I got to see what happens when people prepare the ground to build a house.
First the area on which the house is to be built is measured and marked out.
The external walls and every division inside the house are marked as well.
There’s an outline of the house where you can see how many rooms the house will have, where the bathroom, kitchen and bedrooms will be…
Once the outline has been marked out, then the digging begins.
The builders dig a foundation for the house along the outline that had been drawn and pour concrete into it.
The higher the building, the deeper the foundation must be.
They wait for the concrete to set before building the walls of the house, adding a floor, and the roof.
Recently as we were praying God reminded me of this picture-
My heart was a construction site.
The Bible says out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34b).
Guard your heart with all diligence for out of it flow the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).
Our hearts are central to who we are and that is where God is laying the foundation for our lives.
We are ambassadors of God’s Kingdom.
In our own unique way we are temples of the Holy Spirit.
We are designed to carry God’s glory and to represent Him well.
Sometimes God will show us a glimpse of who He’s calling us to be.
Maybe you’ve seen the outline of the house God has designed you to be.
You’ve seen exactly where each room will be and the layout of the house… but you’ve only seen the outline.
We might get confused when God starts digging because it feels like we’re coming undone.
The building should be going up but our lives look messy, dusty and seem to be falling apart.
The vision is for an appointed time. It will speak and not lie. (Habakkuk 2:3).
Stay with the process.
Let God dig out the things you have that will cloud His glory.
God is digging a foundation that will carry the house that He is calling us to be.
We all have different platforms and some people are entrusted with one talent, two talents or five talents.
Imagine being entrusted to represent God to millions, a worldwide audience. When your house is built and so many are looking up to you, You want to carry His glory and represent Him well.
You do not want to fail.
Yes God is already proud of us.
Jesus already did everything for us to be everything God has called us to be.
Yet He also calls us to steward the talents He’s entrusted to us (Matthew 25:14-30).
We want to be like the three Hebrew boys who were thrown into the fire but came out without, even, the smell of fire on them! (Daniel 3:27).
We are all enthusiastic and raring to go when we get the vision.
But God is interested in us also finishing well.
To finish well, patience is better than pride.
We have to allow the process God is taking us through.
Allow the foundation to take root and to set.
Then the building begins to take shape.
We can be like Joseph who was betrayed by his brothers, wrongly accused, jailed and forgotten by someone who owed him a favor.
When he got to the platform God had called him to, he didn’t carry any bitterness. He was able to see the process for what it was.
Joseph represented God well.
His end was better than his beginning!
Duduzile Ndlovu is a Passionate Lover of Life, Researcher, Mom and Wife.