Wait! Don’t stop reading yet, even though my title may move you to that action.
If you are like me, patience and its twin, perseverance, are some of your least favorite topics. We’ve been told, “Don’t pray for patience, because you will have to learn it the hard way.” But whether we pray for patience or not, successful lives are full of waiting.
My mother used to say that a woman’s life, especially, is full of waiting. We wait for someone to love us and ask to marry us. We wait for the wedding. We wait to get pregnant and then wait for the baby to be born. Then our waiting really starts! We wait for him to walk, and talk, and learn to use the toilet. We wait for her to go to school, then college, then begin her adult life. The waiting never seems to end, though our endurance feels like it might.
As cross cultural workers we wait, too. We wait to be approved. We wait while raising our support. Then we wait to go to our assignment. Language training means more patient endurance. Then, when we finally get into the reality of our work, we wait for the fruit of our labors.
I’ve been spending time this month looking at the issue of patience and perseverance. Instead of just listing the scriptures, I want to draw some thoughts and applications from them. They are out of their usual context, but sometimes this helps me gain new insights. I’ll list the passages at the end so you can look them up and meditate on them too. So, with that explanation, here are my current thoughts on patience and perseverance.
Trying to be patient on my own is useless. I cannot do it. Enduring on my own leads to exhaustion and frustration. But God strengthens me by His power so that I can endure. Even more, He tops it off with unexpected joy, which also strengthens me.
I will face problems and trials. No one gets through this life without them. But problems and trials strengthen my endurance which, in turn, strengthens my character, ultimately creating hope that will never disappoint.
God doesn’t expect me to run someone else’s race, He wants me to run my own race. He doesn’t expect me to run it with a heavy load to hinder and trip me up. He wants me to throw off any hindrances and entanglements so that I can run without getting weary and losing heart. Weights accumulate gradually, don’t they? So we regularly need to let them go.
God is not so unjust. He will not overlook my work and my love for those I serve. So, because he is so faithful, I never want to grow weary in doing well. As The Message version puts it,
“So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit.” – Galatians 6.9
God will reward me for continuing to do His will with patient endurance. There are a huge number of brothers and sisters who have already run the race. Many of them didn’t see the answer to their prayers, but they lived like aliens looking for God’s country. They didn’t keep thinking about their old country; they didn’t want to go back there. God prepared a heavenly country for them. They prayed for the nations to be their inheritance and the ends of the earth their possession.
So, my sisters, be encouraged today to let God strengthen you and give you His power to stand firm and endure. Make sure that you have thrown off any hindrances or sins that might be making your race harder than it needs to be. Keep your eyes on the goal and expect the reward God has planned for those who don’t give up.
Let’s be the daughters of the heroes of faith in Heb. 11. Let’s always look for the heavenly country while we live as foreigners and aliens in this world.
Scriptures I used in this article
Col. 1:11, Isa. 40:23-29, Rom. 5:3-4, Heb. 12:1, 20:36, 11:13-16, Psa. 2:8, Heb. 6:10, and Gal. 6:9.