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, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 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. 8 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!