There are two kinds of people in the world… Those who get ready for Christmas before Thanksgiving and those who follow the Biblical law of waiting until after Thanksgiving that is found in 2 Leviticus 11:21 (I am joking of course, don’t stone me… please). Already, people are starting to get ready for the holiday season. I have seen people put Christmas lights up in their dorm rooms around campus. There are a lot of people I know who have started listening to Christmas music already. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Christmas. Not only do I get to shove my face full of great food, get tons of free stuff, and take a break from life, but it is also a time to remember the amazing birth of Christ. However, people are very impatient for this day to come. Which brings me to what I want to write about.
I am sure all of you have heard the saying, patience is a virtue. This essentially means that those who live with high moral standards live with patience. For us Christians, it is important to remain patient in many situations. But what exactly is patience? Well, I would define it as “the capacity to accept delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry.” I want to look at a couple of different ways to be patient with hopes to further explain this virtue.
Accepting Delay Without Anger
I once had a chaplain tell me that death was our greatest enemy. Thinking back on it, I disagree. I know that when I die, I will collect my inheritance and join my Savior in heaven. I don’t know how long I have, but I do know that I will try to glorify God all the remaining days of my life. However, time can be an enemy for me and many of my brothers and sisters. When I say this, I mean that as the timer for life counts down, I have less time to reach others. However, I must keep myself in check so that I don’t become angry.
James 5:7 (ESV) reads, “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.” As Christians, we are to be patient about time and delay. We cannot become angry over delay. With whatever we are wanting, we must wait patiently just as we wait for the coming of the Lord. The passage describes a patient farmer. The farmer must wait for the harvest to collect the fruits of the earth that he had planted. The early and late rains refer to the two most critical rains in the Palestinian climate.
There can be times in our lives when we really want something or when we think we need something, but we don’t get it. Some of us might get upset when something like this occurs. However, we must realize that everything that has and will come to pass occurs because God wills it. God is sovereign over all things and we must accept that. I believe God will provide for the needs of His people according to His will. If you need something, ask God. He hears our calls and cries. But when we don’t get what we want, we mustn’t get angry. Rather, have patience and continue to wait in faithfulness and patience.
Accepting Trouble and Suffering Without Anger
I have written about it several times, but all Christians should be aware of the trials, tribulations, and troubles that might come to us. This is no secret, for even Jesus Himself has said it. However, when those difficult times come, we must be patient. We cannot get angry when these things happen. Instead, we need to look to God for strength to get through it. I understand the difficulties of this just as much as anyone else. Just as I am to you, I am reminding myself of what it means to be a patient follower of Christ.
There is a passage in my Bible that is titled ‘Marks of the True Christian’ found in Romans 12:9-21. While I won’t go over all the verses, one does stick out to me that corresponds with this post. Romans 12:12 (ESV) reads, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” In times of trouble and suffering, we must have hope that we will eventually overcome. Even if your life is filled with so much pain and suffering, if you remain faithful, you have hope in Christ Jesus.
I have written about one of my favorite passages in the Bible and I believe it ties all these things together. Romans 5:3-5 (ESV) reads, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” So due to our sufferings, we come to have more endurance. And due to this increase of endurance, we come to have more character or experience. Due to this increase of character, we gain hope. It is through the Holy Spirit that God has poured out His love for us and through that, we are not shamed of our hope.
And so, hope is what gets us through these trials and tribulation. That hope can look like a lot of different things to different people. It could be the thought of just living a better life. It might be the outcomes of the tribulations, much like a soldier pushing him or herself through a particular training. Ultimately, the best hope one could hope in is Jesus Christ. You can’t really get any better than that. When we put our hope in Him, we will for sure be rewarded one day. After all, Romans 8:25 says, “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” And as we place our hope in Him, we patiently wait.
Application and Closing
I hope this served you as either a new set of instruction or as a reminder of how to live a Christ-centered life. It definitely did remind me of the need for patience in my life. It is very important that we mustn’t get angry when time becomes an enemy or when we go through troubles and sufferings. It is in those times that we need to sit still and look to God for guidance. I urge you to reflect on this post and to look at your own life and how you can change it yourself. A great way to close this post is with Psalm 130:5 (ESV) which says, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.” May we all wait patiently for the Lord, and may we put our hopes in His word and in Jesus Christ!
Soli Deo Gloria!