Patience – Testing Faith
Do you ever fidget when you have to wait in a long line at a grocery store? How about in a doctor’s office? It seems like you wait forever for the doctor to see you for five or ten minutes.
Does your toddler in a highchair cry or bang on the tray for his food while you’re doing your best to get it ready? Is there a mistake on your credit card bill, and you must work your way through the company’s automated phone system to find a person who can help you? How do you respond when the clerk behind the store counter can’t answer your important question?
With our instant gratification lifestyle, we don’t want to wait for anything. But there are times when we can do nothing but wait. The trials of life strengthen our faith and produce patience in us.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:3,4)
Patience is a Christian virtue and a fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering [patience]…” (Galatians 5:22) Synonyms of patience that are sometimes applied in scripture are endurance, longsuffering, forbearance, perseverance, and steadfastness.
God Himself is our best example of patience. He waits for us to repent of our sin and be saved because He doesn’t want anyone to die in his or her sins (2 Peter 3:9). Psalm 86:15 describes Him as “full of compassion, gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.” God puts up with our lack of spiritual maturity, our failures to obey Him, our selfish thoughts, actions, and words.
He waited one hundred twenty years for the people in Noah’s day to repent and turn to Him. (Genesis 6:3)
He delayed Nineveh’s judgment as He waited for Jonah to preach a warning to them. Jonah wanted God to destroy Nineveh NOW, and he tried to run away from God.
The Lord gave Israel and Judah many second chances to return to worshiping Him before their final descent into captivity.
During His trial, Jesus didn’t talk back or defend Himself. On the cross, Jesus asked the Father to forgive the men crucifying Him. (1 Peter 2:21-23)
Patience is waiting while your preschooler ties his own shoes or letting the phone ring until your elderly relative can answer it. It’s still loving your family even though they forget to thank you for the delicious meal you prepared, and they make a mess of the house you just cleaned. It’s being willing to forgive a wrong done to you or being willing to listen when someone needs to talk.
It’s remaining steadfast in your goals and enduring when life throws hardship and suffering your way.
Sometimes it’s waiting for God to act. (Micah 7:7)
We’re to wait patiently for others. We’re to put up with others’ faults and not strike out in anger. We’re to show mercy to the sinful and weak and forgive those who hurt or offend us. (Ephesian 4:31,32; Luke 6:35-37; 1Thessalonians 5:14,15)
Christians are admonished to “run with endurance the race set before us,” with our focus on Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 12:1,2) Don’t give up, child of God.
(Scripture from NKJV; pictures thanks to Pixabay)