Patience isn’t for the faint hearted
Congratulations if you are in the throes of practicing patience to
keep you sane during a perplexing and trying situation. You are among
those who’ll receive a medal for the tenacity of working and believing
on the certainty that God will deliver: “ . . . for he who comes to
God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who
diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6, KJV). Patience isn’t for the faint
hearted: it’s active. It puts you in the battles front lines.
A soldier doesn’t prepare for war by taking naps. As Charles H.
Spurgeon says, “the soldier of patience has to cross streams, swim
across rivers, climb steep mountains, and walk many long marches.” We
too, go through trials of training. Our rifle becomes unbearably heavy
when others get promoted or receive pay raises. The relentless
shelling overhead with sickness, unpaid bills, and disappointments
make us want to give up. And our boots made a sucking smack when
pulled out of the mucky holes of anxiety, and mounting fear.
Our patience falters as we stand on the mountaintop to see a higher
one before us. And we become weary from unanswered prayer. Like
Jeremiah we’ve cried, “You have covered yourself with a cloud so that
no prayer can get through” (Lamentations 3:44). Then our Commander
reminds us, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 37:7).
As warriors we want the wrongs made right. But to work through the
maze of cynical judgments and unfair treatments we have to keep our
eyes on our Leader. As it says in Deuteronomy 5:23 we’re to follow
what our Lord commands, and not turn to the right or the left and do
our own thing.
When I cannot understand my father’s leading,
And it seems to be that hard and cruel fate,
Still I hear that gentle whisper ever pleading,
God is working, God is faithful, ONLY WAIT.
Streams from the Desert
Patience isn’t something we pull out of a Humvee glove compartment
when needed. We can’t take a spiritual holiday and expect to be ready.
We train to keep ourselves fit by building a relationship with Jesus
Christ; to center us, we’re to have no other allegiance to any other
person, or anything else. Even if it means carrying a backpack of
sorrow a little further.
Rest assured, it’s exciting to wait patiently to see how God will
uncover new gifts of strengths we didn’t realize we possessed. Then
discover we can endure and march longer. We have the fulfilling
promise from God that, “ . . . the steps of a good man are ordered by
the Lord” (Psalm 37:23).
James encourages us in chapter 5. “Have hope, justice will be handed
out to the oppressed.” In the midst of cruel treatment, we can stride
with confidence: we’re kept sane, and rewarded, as patience yields a
deeper plain of worship with our Savior.