We live in a world where patience is often in very short supply. We all love the quick response of pressing a button, flicking a switch or “googling” an answer to a question. However, patience cannot be obtained by flicking a switch. The Adamic nature does not want to wait! It is childish in wanting everything instantly and dislikes God’s timing. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, ( Galatians 5: 22-23 In the King James Version it is translated as longsuffering).
One dictionary definition describes patience as the ability to wait, or continue doing something despite difficulties, to suffer without complaining or becoming annoyed and frustrated.
The prodigal son could not wait to receive his inheritance at the correct time. He persuaded his father to part with it, left home and squandered it on riotous living. He would not wait and had to live with the consequences of his wrong choice. (Luke 15)
Esau came in from the field ravenously hungry. He smelled his brother’s lentil stew, (a mess of potage), and impulsively traded his birthright for it. He could not wait and was tricked by his deceitful brother, Jacob. (Genesis 25: 27-34) Impatience has consequences.
Isaiah 40:31 “But they that WAIT upon the Lord shall renew their strength……”. This is a divine benefit and enabling as we yield to the Holy Spirit in God’s “Waiting Room”. If I am lacking in patience it is an indication that I am not yielding to the Lord somewhere. If I am not yielding I am in rebellion!! When I surrender to the Lord He works with me and gifts me with His patience. The process is character building of the Son of God in my life, as I yield. “He must increase, I must decrease”, John 3:30.
Hebrews 10:36 “For you have need of patience, for after you have done the will of God you will receive the promise”.
How patient, how long suffering the Lord has been to each of us as we have kicked against His timing and His ways! The hymn writer declared, “He maketh the rebel a priest and a king “. How does He do it?…….through the process of tribulation! The apostle Paul was brought to the place in his experience where he had learnt the ways of God through His trials. The outcome was he could joyfully declare: “…But we glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation works patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope makes us not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts (consequence) by the Holy Ghost who is given to us”, Romans 5: 3-5.
Romans 8:18-19 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature WAITS for the manifestation of the sons of God”.
Jesus was never moved by need, only in obedience to the word of His Father. His hearing was finely tuned to listen to His Father’s voice and only move, or speak, as He was bidden, e.g. John 2: 1-12 The marriage in Cana. He waited until His Father directed before He moved or spoke.
The man who learns to sit still moves quickest when the Spirit prompts! How?……because he is listening.
Maybe we have all heard, or read, about the man who found a chrysalis in his garden shed. He had been waiting for the day when the butterfly would begin to emerge from the case where the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly took place. Finally the day arrived. He watched the struggle as the creature slowly began to emerge from its cocoon. The man judged the process to be painstakingly slow so he thought he would help it out. He took a pair of fine scissors and snipped the cocoon casing. Instead of a beautiful butterfly emerging, a pathetic creature flopped out and died! The man had aborted the emerging process of the butterfly, ignorant of the fact that the struggle to emerge was the process that pumped fluids around it’s entombed body that finally completed the metamorphosis into a beautiful winged butterfly. The struggle was an important part of the process!
Let us consider the analogy here. God is in the butterfly business with us. Our trials are the fertile ground to prove God is who He says He is and form another measure of the stature of His wonderful Son in us. How many times do we abort the process by wrong choices and thus suffer ensuing consequences? The long-suffering of God comes again and again to woo us into His will for us, but eventually the thin gossamer thread of life will be cut and we will stand before the Lord to give an account of the choices we have made down here. It is a sobering thought to look back with regret over choices God gave me. All the time God gives me breath I have opportunity to bow before God in my choices and challenges in life. I can move as He directs and discover the joy and peace of His presence in adverse circumstances, finding the enabling, enduring ability to go through the difficult places He requires me to yield to. I yield to God, the God of the situation, not the situation. There is a big difference as only God can give me His ability to go through…..all for His glory.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructed us to “go the second mile”, (Matthew 5:3). The second mile is a godly choice, not compulsion, because I know the Hand that is holding mine and leading me on the journey.
Yielding destroys the impetus of compulsion!
May the Lord give us ability to digest this word in order that it may become creative in our lives. May we continue on that path that leads us more and more to that perfect day, (Proverbs 4:18), when we shall walk in the fullness of the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, metamorphosis complete!