Suffering and Patience, why me?

As I have been meditating and studying patience, I have seen that it is a godly trait God desires in my new created character in Him. He will develop it through the power of the Holy Spirit within me as I walk with Him daily. I have also seen the need for more patience in my life and realized that it is tied to trust and time. It does not appear in my character over night, indeed it is a growing process as I learn to trust God more and more with each aspect of my life. The last area of patience we’ve only skirted upon is patience in suffering. Scripture is filled with examples of godly men and women who suffered patiently as they waited for God’s perfect timing and resolution of their situations. As they walked with faith and trust, God was manifested in their lives and they brought glory to God. Isn’t that what each of us desires? We want to be found faithful in our walk with Jesus bringing us good and Him glory.

Think for a minute about these Biblical characters and the faith they showed during great times of persecution or suffering. Noah suffered ridicule from the world around him as he worked 120 years to build the ark. Remember it had not rained before the flood and the concept of flood was unknown. Abraham and Sarah waited for their son of promise, Isaac, for years until they were too old to have a child. Miraculously God renewed their bodies and gave them a child. David, the anointed king of Israel, was pursued by Saul for 14 years as he sought to kill him. It was 14 years before Saul was killed and David was crowned king. Daniel and his friends lived in a pagan culture clinging to their faith as the world around them tried to burn or have them eaten by lions. Paul was beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned, etc. for the sake of the gospel. Peter was imprisoned and God sent an angel to lead him out. John was exiled to the isle of Patmos because of his faith. This is just a short list but the Bible gives us many more examples of faith under fire. Even our Lord Jesus was unjustly beaten and crucified, patiently suffering for our sake.

So how do we deal with times of trial and suffering that require us to endure with patience?

James 2:2-4 tells us it is about attitude and will build our character. Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” We should think about suffering as an opportunity to experience joy as it will reap great rewards.

Romans 12:12 tells us suffering must be bathed in prayer resulting in hope and extended patience in our lives. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

1 Thessalonians 5:14 tells us that hard times of suffering call us to encourage one another, build each other up and extend patience to all. “And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”

Hebrews 6:15 gives us hope as we see Abraham as an example of patient faith. “And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.”

James 5:7-8 gives us an example of a farmer who is waiting for his crops to grow and mature. We need to be like that – waiting and growing until the Lord returns. “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.”

Considering these scriptures, how do you see or feel God growing your patience? Are you drawn to pray more? Are you patiently looking into His Word to discover the promises God has for you? Are you reacting with anger and are realizing your attitude needs adjustment so that you can be an encouragement to others as you wait? Patience is a virtue to be cultivated with prayer and looked upon as an opportunity for growth in Christ. I’m still working on this as I seek to grow into a more patient, prayer filled person looking to God and His promises with Hope!

Linda

God calls us to Patient Endurance “Look I’m developing Spiritual Muscles”!!

As I continued to meditate about Patience, I thought about the virtue in relation to time. It is all about time and trust. We have absolute assurance that God has good things planned for us. When we read His words in Jeremiah 29:11. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” We know God is working to make us the best we can be in Him. As the phrase says-“Good things take time.” Consider these verses:

Proverbs 25:15 “Patience can persuade a prince,
    and soft speech can break bones. Luke 8:15 “And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.” Hebrews 6:11-12 “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

In each of these verses the idea of waiting and waiting with patient expectation for godly results is expected of us. Whether it be in patient persuasion, the patience of a farmer waiting for his crops to grow and mature or the heroes of faith exhorting us to be patient in our words and actions so that they please God.

I don’t know about you but I’m not the most patient person. I’m an American and we often fall into the desire for immediate results. The idea of waiting for the results is painful. Have you ever thought about why God wants us to wait for results? He desires that we grow and develop in our faith, learn to walk with Him daily and trust in Him. All those things- growth, developing, walking daily and trusting all require us to endure and see things through to the end. The Bible calls this developing patient endurance. Hebrews 10:36 “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” God knows we have to live through things, endure to the end- we need to develop perseverance! God knows before the end His people will face great persecution and hardships. Revelation 14:11-12 “And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.” Living through that time will require perseverance, faith and patient endurance!

We each face challenges in our lives that help us build spiritual muscles. We see God’s faithfulness in our life and in the lives of those around us. We don’t have to endure all trials to learn and grow- we can observe, pray with others, and comfort them in their times of trial. If you are doing okay today, who do you know that is in a time requiring patient endurance of their faith? Pray for them, send them an encouraging note or card. If you are going through a time requiring patient endurance, ask a friend to pray for you and with you.

Look ahead with confidence and be encouraged the next time you struggle with circumstances requiring you to wait patiently for the Lord, to endure and persevere. God is building your spiritual muscles and making you stronger in Him!

Linda

Patience, right now Lord?

Patience is something God desires us to have within our character but in looking at scripture I’m seeing that God has it and wants us to have it too. There is always a function of time involved that often grates against our nature and causes us grief. It is called for in suffering and growth and is a part of life that opens us up to greater blessings from God. I am going to spend a few blogs meditating on patience as I, myself, see the need to increase this God given attribute in my life. I desire to see its fruit in my life.

First, let’s look at patience as something God desires for our character. Jesus wants us to show Him to others with patience. 1 Timothy 1:16 “ But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.” We are to be his example to the world of great patience. If that is so, then I need to ask myself, What do I need to do to show patience towards others? How do I cultivate an attitude or ability to be patient?

Paul writes in Galatians 5:22-23 about the fruits of the Spirit. These are attitudes and attributes that come from allowing the Holy Spirit to work and reign within our lives.  “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Do you seek to acknowledge the Spirit of the living God in your life daily? Do you pray with expectation and hope, knowing He can do all things? Do you seek to grow in Christ allowing Him to develop His character within you freely? Sanctification, or the process of becoming more and more like Jesus, is a life long journey. It definitively requires patience from God, or Him being longsuffering, with all of our ups and downs, steps forward and backwards! It also requires patient endurance on our part to seek to keep focused upon God and His ways in our life. In Colossians 3:12 Paul writes, “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” This having patience with others is not an option for believers. God loves us and calls us to be His examples showing His character to the world.

Meditate on your own patience today. Are you allowing God to use patience to mold and shape your character? Are you seeing progress? If not, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to be able to show greater patience in your life. James 4:2b tells us “Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” Boldly ask God for greater patience so you can endure the trials of your life with greater joy.

I’m asking God to increase my patience and turn it to joy today.

Linda

P.S. Just as I am writing, I was called upon to show patience with someone new. A good reminder that patience is something I need to beware of and let God cultivate within me moment by moment. I want my reactions to life to show His character within me. Patience is truly required!