Patience Please!


Patience

Patience is more than endurance. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says — “I cannot stand any more.” God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God’s hands. For what have you need of patience just now? Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith.    

—Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest, May 8th)

Patience is a virtue that I’m sorely lacking in lately.  For nearly three months I’ve been recovering from total knee replacement surgery, a highly invasive procedure.  Given that I was in pretty good physical condition going into the surgery, I imagined that three months down the road I would be nearly recovered.  Wrong!  I’m still dealing with swelling, stiffness, and muscle spasms around my knee.  I attend three torturous physical therapy sessions per week, where my therapist stretches and strains my knee until I can’t stand any more. Then she does it again…and again, sometimes bringing tears to my eyes. Learning patience can be a bitter pill to swallow.

The Oswald Chamber passage quoted at the head of this entry got me thinking about patience.  I recognize that I have a problem with patience.  So, as I so often try to do, I turn to the pages of the Bible for guidance.  The scriptures have a multitude of great examples of patience.  I can’t mention them all, but here are a few I find inspiring.

In Genesis chapter 17, God promised Abram (Abraham) he would be the “Father of many nations.”  In Abraham’s era, the inability to have children was considered a punishment from God.  Abraham and Sarah’s first child Isaac was born after Sarah was at least 90 years old and Abraham was 100.  Nevertheless, Abraham believed God’s promise.

Jacob served Rachel’s father Laban for 14 years in order to be allowed to take Rachel as his wife!

Moses led the Children of Israel from captivity as slaves in Egypt.  He subsequently wandered 40 years in the desert wilderness with his disobedient people and was finally told by God that he would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land.  All the same, he remained faithful to God.

King David wanted to honor God by building a temple to house the Arc of the Covenant.  However, in 1 Chronicles chapter 17 the prophet Nathan reveals to David that God has ordained that David’s son Solomon will build the temple.  Despite having the means to proceed by himself, David accepts Nathan’s revelation and refrains from building it.

Acts chapter 16 describes Paul and Silas being in prison for preaching the Gospel in the Greek city of Philippi. What are they doing at midnight?  They’re not rattling their chains; they’re praying and singing hymns to God.  Now that’s patience!  Paul and Silas were following the advice of Psalm 27:14, that says, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” Of course their patience paid off. An earthquake shook the prison and loosed their chains.  On that amazing night, Paul and Silas ended up preaching the Gospel to their jailer and his whole family, who, we are told, were all saved.

Despite being fine examples, these remarkable acts of patience all pale in comparison to God’s great patience with you and me, and we can thank Him for it. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Thanks be to God who is patient with me and you as we plod along towards our final destinations. As Philippians 2:17 says, God has given me a chance to work out my own salvation “with fear and trembling.” To this I would add, “…even when I deserve his punishment.”   What a patient and loving Father we have.  May we all strive to follow his example!

 

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Fr Doug Blakelock on May 17, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    Ah yes! I certainly can relate… when my expectations don’t jive with God’s plan that breeds all sorts of rebelliousness in me. Surrendering and submission, however, defeat my heart’s desire to be in control.

    Blessings to you, Linda, and all the ACNA church-planting folks (talk about needing Patience!)

    Fr. Doug+

    Reply

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