Somebody once said that if you ask God to give you patience, “he may allow difficult situations in your life to help you cultivate it.” Unfortunately, these situations are never pleasant and none of us look forward to any one of them. But apparently, they seem like the most logical place for patience to develop. Paul understood this very well. Remember the thorn in his flesh? Speaking to this very situation he said,
“In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We “patiently” endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food.” 2 Corinthians 6:4, 5 NLT
In the same chapter he adds the following
- We have been despised
- We have been slandered
- We have been called impostors
- We have been ignored
- We live close to death
- Our hearts ache
- We are poor
- We own nothing
In such difficult times and dark situations, there is one word that stands out. One word – like a rose, a rose set in the midst of a thorny bush. “Patience.” Paul says , “we patiently endure.” Interestingly, patience is not that:
- put it on the shelve
- set it on the back burner
- throw in the towel
- passively sleep on it
- hold on to dear life
- maybe we will get through this
- kind Paul is talking about
About patience, Barclay writes
, “We often think of patience as a passive thing – so we sit around waiting for something to happen. That is not the idea of the word Paul uses here. It is an active endurance instead of a passive waiting. The Greek word hupomone “does not describe the frame of mind which can sit down with folded hands and bowed head and let a torrent of troubles sweep over it in passive resignation. It describes the ability to bear things in such a triumphant way that it transfigures them.”
There are many examples from scripture to Illustrate this point. But because of time and space we will just consider Abraham.
“In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”
There are things things we can learn from Abraham:
- He had hope. Hope is about expectation. An expectation that a miracle is around the corner, even in the face of hopelessness. Hope that is seen is no hope at all, But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
- He had Faith. Faith is the assurance, conviction, and understanding that what God do what He said He will do. This kind of faith is only for the diligent. The scripture says that God rewards those who through faith, diligently seek God. In fact God expects us to live by faith, and if we shrink back from it, he is never pleased.
- He had Trust. Trust is absolute confidence in the character of the one who made the promise. Is he trustworthy? Is he reliable. Can he deliver what he said he would. Abraham found no reason otherwise.
So the question I would like for us to consider today is this:
Do you have the ability to bear things in such a triumphant way that it transfigures them?
This kind of attitude is what it takes to break through difficult situation. No time to through a pity party. No time to sit around waiting for something to happen. When you put your hand to the plow, you press on no matter what – you don’t look back until it’s done.
Today is your opportunity to reject a “victimized mentality” and embrace a “more than conqueror throughout Him who gives you the strength” mentality.