Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Patience. My godly grandmother was one of the most perfectly patient people I have ever known. She told me repeatedly growing up that I must be patient as I was totally impatient as a child, teenager and even young adult. I had not time for patience. My obstinate and intolerant personality demanded immediate resolution, quick results and complete satisfaction when I decided the timing was right. Even after coming to know the Lord, I still struggled with being patient for most of my adult life. This is exactly why the Lord does not show me His Plans from start to finish because I would some way ruin in by forcing the timing or trying to skip some steps. Faith is the substance of what we hope for. If we have hope, it is assurance of that which is unseen so we must wait for it. Waiting requires patience. Lord, help me as patience are required to have what I hope for.
I had the pleasure of shopping with a terrific group of young people and throngs of strangers venturing out the day after Thanksgiving to enjoy the great sales. Setting out on this adventure at 7:00 AM with my list in hand, the kids were super excited. Not so much about shopping but spending the day together. We ended our day of shopping at beloved Target. Grabbing some last minute remaining sale items, we had coffee and wandered the store together. Heading to the checkout lane, all the young people began surveying the checkout lines for the shortest route out the door. The “moms” settled on the first aisle and continued chatting together. Our entourage returned with arms help up, “What are you doing?” In their opinion, this line was the longest. Obviously disappointed with our choice, my friend quickly defended our decision by telling them that it didn’t matter that we were enjoying visiting anyway. See to those young people – waiting is a tragic event. There are some adults that feel like they do because they have not learned that patience is required in life.
Proverbs 19:11 (NIV) A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
My mom-in-love joined us for part of our excursion. The famous fragrance store filled with lovely bottles of soap, lotions and sprays was overflowing with people. It was a madhouse. I knew what I was after and got in and out relatively quickly. She continued to wander the store for a bit so I waited outside perusing my phone while I waited. She came out with no purchase and tear-filled eyes. Someone had cut in front of her in line and when she finally made it to the cashier, there was some confusion with her purchase. She became so flustered that she left in complete frustration. Age is not a factor when it comes to patience. It is wisdom that yields patience according to the Word of God. We had some lunch discussed her strategy and she went back in successfully achieving her goal. We discussed her choices. She could brave the masses and wait to check out or she could return another day, pay a little more and not have the aggravation. We all have these choices in life every single day. Will we patiently wait on the Lord? Or decide that waiting and persevering are not an option doing it our own way.
Ecclesiastes 7:8-9 (NIV)
The end of a matter is better than its beginning and patience is better than pride. Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.
Jesus tells us that it will be the ones who endure to the end that will be saved. Life is a process. I cannot stress this enough. Just when I think I have it all figured out, a curve ball causes me to re-evaluate. Expectation is best placed solely in the Lord, but it is human nature to allow other people to take it, things to overshadow it, and to take back control of our life from time to time if not most of the time. Blessed are those who believe without seeing. Jesus said it himself. It is hard to believe in what we hope for sometimes, but there is blessings in the waiting as well. This is the birthplace of patience. The end of a matter is better than the beginning.
Patience is better than pride. Patience is what keeps us waiting when we want to give up, compromise or accept sloppy substitutions to relieve our fear, doubt and anxiety about the Lord’s Faithfulness and Unfailing Love. Maybe you are thinking that is not it at all, no friend that is exactly what it is. We are provoked by the enemy through people, situations, circumstances and the like to give up on God’s Word and all He has promised to eliminate the discomfort of perseverance. Pride tells us we don’t have to take it anymore. We deserve better. We are entitled to more. If we want it, we will have to do it ourselves. Violated trust is that which has been given to someone or something other than Jesus Christ our Lord. He is trustworthy. He is All-Knowing and All-Powerful. He lives in us but gives us the freedom to choose what path we will take in life.
James 5:7-11 (NIV)
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. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
I am absolutely sure that any farmer will tell you that the first few seasons are the longest. Waiting is what stretches our perseverance until it becomes patience. How we wait is of equal importance? A farmer must still tend the field long before the seedlings become plants that mature and yield a harvest. He cannot just plant it and forget it until it yields a harvest or that day may never come. We are to be patient in our waiting and diligent in our watch. Prayer is absolutely a necessity in our waiting for the Lord to develop patience in our life. We must pray not for what we desire but more importantly for the patience to see it through. I know, I know don’t pray for patience. If you want to endure to the end, if you want Jesus, and if you desire a relationship with Him that produces harvests of hope – you don’t have to pray for patience – refinement will happen just the same.
Patience is persuasive. (Proverbs 25:15) It is a sign of wisdom and maturity that influences others. A gentle response can break the hard hearted. A warrior can take out some other soldiers, but patience can take the city. (Proverbs 16:32) When we try to fight our own battles, we may win a conflict but we lose the war. The Lord will fight for those who remain patient and choose to wait on Him. Patience ends conflict. (Proverbs 15:18) This will lead to peace. Besides, no one wants to fight with themselves. Patience is a god-like example because it is His Patience and Kind Forbearance that leads to repentance as we identify and accept His Grace for what it really is. (2 Peter 3:14-15) Faith requires us to be still and wait on the Lord. (Psalm 37:7) This is all an act of patience.
Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
In the grocery store, the day before Thanksgiving, my daughter and I had a few last minute items to grab. Basically running through the aisles not to get caught in the confusion of last minute shoppers, we encountered a young mother obviously struggling with more than a few small children. She was very frustrated yelling at them all the way as they cried and complained. At one point, she grabbed her toddler by the arm in a harsh jerk and my daughter was infuriated. She grabbed her phone intent on calling “911”. I was aware of the situation. The mother had not violated any law. She just was at the end of her patience. She was also very young. I convinced my sweet girl that there was no need to call the law on her that she was just overwhelmed. Getting into the car, I felt like I needed to explain the situation from my perspective. I told her of a young mama who did not know Jesus and did not have much experience yet was given three children in four years. I explained that after those children were older that mama came back to Jesus and grew in the Lord also in experience as she raised the first three and added two more. Sometimes it is easy to pass judgment on others unless we understand that everyone is fighting a battle. She guessed that the mama was me. I am a more mature mama who has learned to be patient with my children because of grace and experience. She judged that mother in the store by her experience of motherhood through me. We do the same. Sometimes we forget that we are all sinners saved by grace. The same grace extended to all with the realization that a single sin would have nailed Jesus to the Cross demanding His Life as repayment. A single sin. We are all quite capable and guilty of that so we have no reason to acknowledge and approach others in the exact same grace that we have been given.
Patience requires forbearance. Forgiveness. Extending more grace to others than we think they deserve because that is exactly what we have been given. We are recipients of God’s Love. (Romans 8:38-39) Nothing can separate us from His Love or anyone else for that matter. Patience requires knowing God’s Love. It requires knowing His Son. It is to live by His Spirit. It is to reflect the grace we have been given to everyone else. We must know His Word. Patience is required if hope is what we are after or there is no need for faith. This time of year challenges us to be patience and forbearing. The holidays bring out the best and worst in other people. However, we can make the choice to live by faith in confident hope this holiday season and be patient, kind and forbearing following the Example of Jesus Christ.
I Timothy 1:15-17 (NIV)
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
God’s Purpose in developing our patience is that we will lack no good thing. To be patient and forbearing is to fully accept the capacity of His Love and all it to produce a harvest in our life. Patience is a sign of maturity and one’s willingness to wait confidence in the outcome. If Jesus is the reason that we celebrate this Season, why not make Him our example as we journey through it? Make His Love our goal and aspiration. To be patient, loving and kind so that the Light of His Love is fully expressed through us. This will require patience. It will require forbearance. If we choose to live by faith and confident hope, patience is required.
2 Timothy 4:1-2 (NIV)
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.