Godly patience is not inherent in the natural man. It has to be worked into our lives through the trials of our faith that the Lord permits, not necessarily sends, in our lives. The natural man does not want to “count it all joy” when trials occur. James 1: 2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations, knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect, and entire, wanting nothing”.
Jesus said: “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”, Matthew 5:8. Heart purity is seeing God, finding God in every circumstance God permits in our lives. Almighty God can use every situation for divine purpose. The natural man reacts and kicks against adversity, but when we have to do with the Lord in the trial, we discover the gold of God. Scripture declares that God deems the trial of our faith is more precious than gold as we experience the fires of affliction, (1 Peter 1: 4-7). As I humble myself in the trial, asking God to reveal Himself IN it to hear what He is saying, instead of shouting, “Get me OUT of here” in deliverance, God in His great mercy will reveal Himself. Here I find the joy of the trial. The circumstances may not have changed, but when I find His presence there and hear what He is saying to me, I change my heart’s attitude to my circumstance. Here the royal exchange takes place. I trade the rags of my complaining for the strength and calm assurance of His presence to carry me through the trial. His presence changes everything and I discover I am ruined by His overwhelming love. This is holy ground. All I can do is bow in His presence as He touches my life. In these holy moments all complaining ceases and my heart responds in worship. Here a work is done for eternity that I would not seek to trade for anything as I begin to see things through God’s eyes. To count it all joy can only be found in the encounter with Jesus Christ in the fire of affliction. His presence changes me.
When someone is suffering, it is very easy to offer a scripture in an effort to try, in some way, to comfort or adjure them. A living word at an appointed time can indeed make a difference, but there are also times when the church offers a scriptural plaster to people who are bleeding to death!
The record of Job’s sufferings can teach us much to consider. People who are suffering understand Job’s questioning. Where is God when it hurts? Why does God allow this? Job was only aware of his earthly pain and was ignorant of what was taking place in the heavenly realms. Job was so aware of his self righteousness and thought he could trade with it. As we wade through the chapters of his suffering, his “comforters”, the religious people, lost their esteem. Job entreated the Lord and in chapter 38 God enters the scene with such profound words that floor Job: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man and I will question you and you will answer Me”. The Lord declared His mighty works of creation to Job which convinced Job of his ignorance. Job 40: 1-2 “Moreover the Lord answered Job and said ‘Shall he that contends with the Almighty instruct Him? He that reproves God, let him answer it”. The holiness of God revealed to Job the vileness of his self righteousness and the nature of his complaints. When God shows up He is always looking for a response. Job repented before the Lord and God abundantly blessed his end of life, more than his beginning. God instructed Job to stop complaining. God does not always let us know His designs, but He always blesses us with His presence. “Seek and you will find…..”
God blesses us with His presence to get us right, not because we are right. The measure of our blessing is not to display our rightness, but to display His grace and mercy to direct us along His paths. God wants to deal with our biases. The measure we allow the Holy Spirit to work with us in bringing us to surrender, is the measure He will rid us of our biases. We all have them.
Have I, have you, entered into the rest of God, our birthright? True repentance should lead us to the rest spoken of in Hebrews 4: 9-10 “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works……” In the rest of God there is a quietness, no striving, a strength and a confidence to be found. It is in the DNA of Christ Jesus. This mystery of God, now revealed in us, Christ in you, the hope of glory!
May the Lord bring us to the place that we choose to declare in every circumstance: “True and righteous are ALL Your ways, O Lord”.