As I sat to write this week’s blog, all that came to mind was this concept of “waiting.” It feels like God has me – us – in a holding pattern as He works His will in the world. I’m sure it’s more complicated than that, and I’m sure there is much we can be doing to both improve ourselves and minister to others, but His primary message to me, and perhaps to you, is PATIENCE!! Accordingly, I went looking for an illustration and couldn’t pick just one. Enjoy! 🙂
The purposes of God often develop slowly because His grand designs are never hurried. The great New England preacher Phillips Brooks was noted for his poise and quiet manner. At times, however, even he suffered moments of frustration and irritability. One day a friend saw him feverishly pacing the floor like a caged lion. “What’s the trouble, Mr. Brooks?” he asked.
“The trouble is that I’m in a hurry, but God isn’t!” Haven’t we felt the same way many times?
Some of the greatest missionaries of history devotedly spread the seed of God’s Word and yet had to wait long periods before seeing the fruit of their efforts. William Carey, for example, labored 7 years before the first Hindu convert was brought to Christ in Burma, and Adoniram Judson toiled 7 years before his faithful preaching was rewarded. In western Africa it was 14 years before one convert was received into the Christian church. In New Zealand it took 9 years, and in Tahiti it was 16 years before the first harvest of souls began.
Thomas Kempis described that kind of patience in these words: “He deserves not the name of patient who is only willing to suffer as much as he thinks proper, and for whom he pleases. The truly patient man asks (nothing) from whom he suffers, (whether) his superior, his equal, or his inferior… But from whomever, or how much, or how often wrong is done to him, he accepts it all as from the hand of God, and counts it gain!”
Our Daily Bread.
True patience is waiting without worrying.
- Swindoll, Growing Strong, p. 124.
“Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind.”
Leonardo da Vinci.
Patience is a virtue;
Possess it if you can.
Found seldom in a woman,
Never in a man.
To those Christians who are always in a hurry, here’s some good advice from the 19th-Century preacher A.B. Simpson:
“Beloved, have you ever thought that someday you will not have anything to try you, or anyone to vex you again? There will be no opportunity in heaven to learn or to show the spirit of patience, forbearance, and longsuffering. If you are to practice these things, it must be now.” Yes, each day affords countless opportunities to learn patience. Let’s not waste them.
Commenting on our need for this virtue, M.H. Lount has said, “God’s best gifts come slowly. We could not use them if they did not. Many a man, called of God to… a work in which he is pouring out his life, is convinced that the Lord means to bring his efforts to a successful conclusion. Nevertheless, even such a confident worker grows discouraged at times and worries because results do not come as rapidly as he would desire. But growth and strength in waiting are results often greater than the end so impatiently longed for. Paul had time to realize this as he lay in prison. Moses must have asked, ‘Why?’ many times during the delays in Midian and in the wilderness. Jesus Himself experienced the discipline of delay in His silent years before His great public ministry began.”
God wants us to see results as we work for Him, but His first concern is our growth. That’s why He often withholds success until we have learned patience. The Lord teaches us this needed lesson through the blessed discipline of delay.
Our Daily Bread.
Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “run with endurance” the race set before us. George Matheson wrote, “We commonly associate patience with lying down. We think of it as the angel that guards the couch of the invalid. Yet there is a patience that I believe to be harder – the patience that can run. To lie down in the time of grief, to be quiet under the stroke of adverse fortune, implies a great strength; but I know of something that implies a strength greater still: it is the power to work under stress; to have a great weight at your heart and still run; to have a deep anguish in your spirit and still perform the daily tasks. It is a Christ-like thing! The hardest thing is that most of us are called to exercise our patience, not in the sickbed but in the street.” To wait is hard, to do it with “good courage” is harder!
Our Daily Bread
According to a traditional Hebrew story, Abraham was sitting outside his tent one evening when he saw an old man, weary from age and journey, coming toward him. Abraham rushed out, greeted him, and then invited him into his tent. There he washed the old man’s feet and gave him food and drink.
The old man immediately began eating without saying any prayer or blessing. So Abraham asked him, “Don’t you worship God?”
The old traveler replied, “I worship fire only and reverence no other god.”
When he heard this, Abraham became incensed, grabbed the old man by the shoulders, and threw him out of his tent into the cold night air.
When the old man had departed, God called to his friend Abraham and asked where the stranger was. Abraham replied, “I forced him out because he did not worship you.”
God answered, “I have suffered him these eighty years although he dishonors me. Could you not endure him one night?”