Patience isn’t for the faint hearted

Congratulations if you are in the throes of practicing patience to keep you sane during a perplexing and trying situation. You are among those who’ll receive a medal for the tenacity of working and believing on the certainty that God will deliver: “ . . . for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6, KJV). Patience isn’t for the faint hearted: it’s active. It puts you in the battles front lines.
A soldier doesn’t prepare for war by taking naps. As Charles H. Spurgeon says, “the soldier of patience has to cross streams, swim across rivers, climb steep mountains, and walk many long marches.” We too, go through trials of training. Our rifle becomes unbearably heavy when others get promoted or receive pay raises. The relentless shelling overhead with sickness, unpaid bills, and disappointments make us want to give up. And our boots made a sucking smack when pulled out of the mucky holes of anxiety, and mounting fear.
Our patience falters as we stand on the mountaintop to see a higher one before us. And we become weary from unanswered prayer. Like Jeremiah we’ve cried, “You have covered yourself with a cloud so that no prayer can get through” (Lamentations 3:44). Then our Commander reminds us, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 37:7).
As warriors we want the wrongs made right. But to work through the maze of cynical judgments and unfair treatments we have to keep our eyes on our Leader. As it says in Deuteronomy 5:23 we’re to follow what our Lord commands, and not turn to the right or the left and do our own thing.
When I cannot understand my father’s leading,
And it seems to be that hard and cruel fate,
Still I hear that gentle whisper ever pleading,
God is working, God is faithful, ONLY WAIT.
Streams from the Desert

Patience isn’t something we pull out of a Humvee glove compartment when needed. We can’t take a spiritual holiday and expect to be ready. We train to keep ourselves fit by building a relationship with Jesus Christ; to center us, we’re to have no other allegiance to any other person, or anything else. Even if it means carrying a backpack of sorrow a little further.
Rest assured, it’s exciting to wait patiently to see how God will uncover new gifts of strengths we didn’t realize we possessed. Then discover we can endure and march longer. We have the fulfilling promise from God that, “ . . . the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23).
James encourages us in chapter 5. “Have hope, justice will be handed out to the oppressed.” In the midst of cruel treatment, we can stride with confidence: we’re kept sane, and rewarded, as patience yields a deeper plain of worship with our Savior.