“By standing firm, you will win your souls.” (Luke 21:19 NLT)
Early in my walk with the Lord, an older saint reminded me to never pray for patience unless I was serious. When I asked why, they simply said: “Because He’ll answer you!” Patience is described in Strong’s Concordance as: “the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.” And who comes first to mind when you read those words? Our dear brother Job!
Jesus describes in Luke 21, from which the verse above comes, a time just prior to His return to earth. In verses 10-12 He says: “Then He added, ‘Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven. But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution.”
When you read these words what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? What came to my mind was: “Lord, I’m fine with you taking me home before all of that begins.” But you want to know the staggering reality? It’s already happening all over the world!
Families feuding, neighbors bickering, cities collapsing, nations warring! We live in a time of turmoil, anger, and pain. Satan is having a heyday as he deceives, lies, steals our joy, kills our desire for God, and destroys anything that hints of holiness or righteousness. And amid all that’s happening, what is God’s desire for us? Patience! Why? Because we know how this story ends!
When my son was still in diapers, my wife’s parents took us to lunch after church. As you might expect, we waited a long time to be seated, then longer to receive our food. Finally, the server began to place our orders on the table. I’m not sure if it was the smell of the food or just bad timing, but I could see my son’s little cheeks turning red as he seemed to be straining to do something. Yep, you guessed it. The smell wasn’t pleasant, and his dirty diaper was really ill-timed.
Patience is “on-the-job training.” Strangely, we can’t learn patience in any other way, yet, once we stop fighting the Lord and begin to learn to flow with His “object lessons,” it enables us, as James implores us, to rejoice in our troubles. Why is that so vital? Rejoicing is an act of worship. It illustrates dependence and trust in the only One we ever need, but whose presence is so invited and cherished when we’re at the end of ourselves.
Jesus, as He stands before the crowd, shortly before He’s murdered, is a picture of patience. What can we learn from His example? First, patience isn’t learned by words alone, but by example. God’s Word tells us multiple times to “be patient.” “Ho, hum. Will someone pass the popcorn?” It just goes in one ear and out the other! We’re deaf to instruction we don’t know how to follow.
Unfortunately, for us, the only way to learn patience is to see it in action, practice it in our own lives, then learn to endure it. One of the most important lessons the Lord is seeking to teach me in this season of my life is to stay calm, especially in trying times.
Years ago, I had a little VW Rabbit with a diesel engine. I loved it for many reasons, but it was the most underpowered vehicle I’ve ever owned. I was slowly passing a huge semi on the Interstate, but apparently, he didn’t see me, so he started moving into my lane. I honked, to no avail, but he wasn’t changing his mind. I had to stay calm and figure out what to do in about three seconds. I could panic and yank the wheel to the left and fly off the road, or I could slowly and deliberately move to the berm and let him pass.
Patience moves slowly and waits for God to instruct. He will. How do I know? Because He loves us and is always with us. No One wants us to learn to trust Him and follow His directives more than our Father in heaven. All He wants for us is to love Him and let Him walk with us through troubled times, but if we get impatient and run ahead of Him trying to find our own solution, it becomes a treacherous road to travel.
I know this post is a little longer than usual, but please be patient with me.
Blessings, Ed 😊
3 thoughts on “The Long, Treacherous Road to Patience”
Well-stated and powerful words about patience, scriptural example (seen in and through Job’s life), its gift when exercised, and its damage when we don’t . Thank you Ed!
Thank you Ed, for reminding us to rejoice in our suffering, as it’s never an easy thing to do, but something we need to do as often as possible 🙂