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Patience.  Something we probably all wish we had more of.  I frequently see things happening in the world around me that strike me as sometimes, well… ridiculous.  It’s hard to be patient with people and situations that are frustrating to us and may even be in opposition to what we view as right.  How much more grieved must God be by what is truly wrong according to His standards?  Yet, time and time again He offers us mercy and demonstrates His great patience.

There are numerous examples found throughout the Bible where God and Jesus exhibit patience.  I’d like to use a couple of examples from Revelation, the book we have been studying with the Youth during Sunday school.  In Revelation 3:19-20, Jesus says to the church at Laodicea, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.  So be earnest, and repent.  Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”  Charles Spurgeon said of these verses, “He knows that the church will never be restored till he comes back, and he desires to bless her, and so he stands waiting, knocking and knocking, again and again; he does not merely knock once, but he stands knocking by earnest sermons, by providences, by impressions upon the conscience, by the quickenings of his Holy Spirit; and while he knocks he speaks, he uses all means to awaken his church.”  The word “humility” also comes to mind here… that the Creator of the World waits patiently outside the door of His own church to be allowed in.  How undeserving we are!  

As Revelation progresses, God continues to offer those left on earth the opportunity to repent and turn to Him, even while imposing his holy judgments.  Revelation 7:9 says “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.  They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.”  Revelation 7:13-14 follows, saying “Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?’  I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’  And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”  This is really amazing to me!  God truly loves us so much that He continues offer repentance and mercy through His perfect patience.

When we were visiting family in Georgia this year for Thanksgiving, my dad said something that caught me off-guard.  “You seem so much calmer,” he said.  I really didn’t know how to respond to that.  I’ve thought about that statement several times since.  My dad is right and I know God is responsible for that.  I’ve been more prayerful and in the Word recently.  God has always been there, patiently waiting for me to do what he asks and knows is best for me.  Psalm 51:10-12 says “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.”
James also speaks of patience, giving instruction to believers to wait patiently.  James 5:7-8 says, “Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming.  See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.  You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.”  Charles Spurgeon said of these passages in a sermon from 1880, “Isn’t it true that in our lives today we have a great need of patience? Most of us are deficient in this excellent grace, and because of it we have missed most privileges, and have wasted many opportunities in which we might have honored God, might have been an outstanding example of Christianity, and might have greatly benefited our own souls. Affliction has been the fire which would have removed our imperfections, but impatience has robbed us of its purification. Impatience is unprofitable, dishonorable, and damaging; it has never brought us reward or any good, and never will.  I suppose the reason we are exhorted three times to gain patience is because we will greatly need it in the future.  Between here and heaven we have no guarantee that the road will be easy, or that the sea will be smooth sailing. We have no promise that we will be kept, like flowers in a greenhouse, safe from the breath of frost, or that we will be veiled from the heat of the sun.  The voice of wisdom says, ‘Be patient, be patient, be patient; be ready for the trials that will come.’”

Thanks be to you, God, for your perfect patience and for loving us and guiding us perfectly as only You can.

Erin Hutchins - HOPE4Youth Leader, HOPE Church Raleigh

The Hope Connection