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« Where Is the Revival? | Main | Bits of Wisdom »

The Patience of Jesus

red_light.jpg“I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos …” Revelation 1:9

Is it just me, or are red lights getting longer and green lights getting shorter these days? Have you noticed that it takes longer to get anything done, and we get billed for it quicker than ever? “Just In Time” logos that we see emblazoned across the side of tractor-trailers mean that loads will be delivered to the manufacturer at the opportune moment to go directly into production. ” Express Lane - 8 Items Or Less” above a checkout counter means no waiting in that lane. E-mail, FAX transmissions, One-Hour Photo labs, ATM’s, pay at the pump gasoline stations, and microwave ovens have all become firmly entrenched in our culture today.

The message is clear: We don’t want to wait! Waiting takes time. Time means money. Money buys stuff. And, the more stuff we accumulate, the less time we have to take care of it. The vicious cycle may seem endless, but it is certainly happening at a faster pace these days. Does anyone talk about patience anymore?

In view of all this, consider the patience of Jesus. As a child, he must have had constant thoughts of who he really was. When he looked into the disbelieving faces of the lawyers and scribes at twelve years old, he registered no exasperation. He knew who he was, even though they did not. At the marriage of Cana , the mother of the Omnipotent One had to instruct the servants to listen to him. He constantly encountered in his disciples a lack of faith, a lack of understanding, doubt, backsliding, their desire to force his hand, and their confusion about his true identity. The greatest insult of all was his rejection by his own people. Still, he remained serene.

What must it have been like for Jesus to have all knowledge, and yet subject himself to those who had little or no knowledge? What must it have been like for him to have all power, and yet submit himself to those who had little power? What it must have been like to see the end from the beginning, yet to patiently wait for things to slowly unfold? Christ’s patient restraint testified as much to his greatness as did the unleashing of his power.

Jesus taught us the strength of patience. He said, “In patience, possess ye your souls.” Your salvation may consist more in standing firm than in climbing mountains. Patience gets you up every day and keeps you going on. Patience keeps you going despite unanswered questions. It keeps you going in the face of unopened doors. It keeps you going regardless of unsolved problems. Patience becomes your greatest statement of faith in God!

The message of patience suffers from waning popularity in the church today. No one wants to be told to wait, even if it is God who is doing the telling. We want the answer to our prayers, the solution to our problems and the end results of our labor—-and we want them all now. The last thing we want is a lecture on patience, yet we find this characteristic of patience which is so often attributed to the patriarchs and prophets also graces the life of Jesus Christ.

Before you run out of patience with patience, you would be wise to find out its blessings. By patience you inherit the promises of God. (Hebrews 6:12) By patience you find completion and fulfillment. (James 1:3-4) By patience you endure the harshest of trials. (Revelation 13:10) By patience you keep the commandments of God. (Revelation 14:12). Instantaneous miracles, signs, wonders and the marvelous works of God must never overshadow the simultaneous message of stedfastness, hope and enduring faith in God.

Patience does not deny God’s power, but it trusts God’s timing. Patience does not question God’s intent, but it believes in God’s divine prerogative. Patience is not the expression of doubt, but the confession of a higher faith. Patience says, “He hasn’t yet, but he will.” Patience says, “I may hurt but I still hope.”

Cultivate patience. Without it, you will be driven by panic, fear and imagination. You will leap before looking, speak before listening and act before thinking. Impatience costs you the best things because you will grab the immature, the unfinished and the undeveloped things. This is why the writer to the Hebrews said, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”

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