In Need of Patience by Ben Hayes
Amusement parks are designed to be fun. The purpose is for people—young and old— to, well, be amused. Those who operate them attempt to entertain you and thrill you and hopefully put a smile on your face. The thing about amusement parks that I hate, which I feel confident most of you would agree with, is the wait time. Standing in line for more than 10 minutes drives me up the wall. Most good parks have lines that are 10 times that amount, which leaves me completely unamused.
So why endure the wait time? Well, because it is worth it. It is something you have either heard about or something you have experienced before and you have deemed it well worth the wait.
So let’s examine your thoughts a moment: What ride have you or would you wait for hours to ride? What movie have you or would you camp overnight to be the first to see it? What restaurant would you wait for hours to eat at?
Why? What makes those things so special that you would sacrifice time and energy just to wait for them? We call this patience.
The video we just watched shared with us three points that can help us with the development of patience. Let’s look at what was shared and some further thoughts on each one of these areas:
1. Learn to Accept What You Do Not Control Jesus had been woken up by his disciples in Mark 4:35-41 because they couldn’t control the weather. They were frightened but they went to the one person they knew could make a difference. We are often confronted with things that we don’t have control of so what do we do when we encounter life circumstances that often result in anxiety? Well, Jesus reminded his followers in Matthew 6:25-34 that he is in control of those things and to let Him handle them while we focus primarily on “seeking first the kingdom and His righteousness.”
I don’t control tomorrow but I certainly trust in the one who does. The sons of Korah share words in Psalm 46 that help us turn back to the one that we know can take care of us in the storms of life. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (1). They share several instances where the world seems to be crumbling and falling apart but in the end they encourage us to “cease striving and know that I am God” (10). You might recognize the verse as a song we often sing: “Be still and know that I am God.”
2. Experience is the Best Teacher Who do you often hear referred to as the most patient man in the Bible? Job of course. Why do we say Job is the most patient? Because of his experience! Satan had seen Job as being protected from trouble by God and then God allowed Satan to tempt him by taking away almost everything. His dialogue with his friends, and especially his dialogue with God, helped him develop patience in this difficult time of his life just like James 1:2-4 eluded to.
If Job is the frontrunner then I would say that Joseph is the runner-up. He was made fun of and sold by his brothers—only because they were talked out of killing him by their eldest brother. Then after becoming successful as a servant of Potiphar he was falsely accused of wrongdoing and thrown in prison, where he once again became successful but was forgotten even after his favorable interpretation of the cupbearers dream (Genesis 40:1-23).
3. Focus on Something Ahead Patient endurance is the idea of having a positive attitude as you press on through difficult times. One of the best ways to accomplish this is understanding what lies ahead. We are not really told about Joseph’s longing to go back to his homeland throughout his struggles. However, when Hebrews 11 speaks of Joseph’s faith it tells us that “by faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones” (22). All those years in Egypt but Joseph didn’t want to be left there forever. He wanted his remains taken back home. Seems to be a window into Joseph’s future focus.
The same is true for us. As we face difficulty we focus on the future. Abraham patiently endured so that he could obtain the promise God had given him (Hebrews 6:15) and James lets us know that the true is for us. “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12).
There are certainly difficult things that we face every day. I’m not sure that Christians today face nearly the struggles that Christians faced in the first century. Those individuals faced persecutions that included terrible punishment and often death. Yet in the midst of those things Paul encourages those in Corinth with the words of 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 that I often sum up with the words strength, endurance, and vision.
The middle verse (17) says, “for momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison…” as he continues with what we focus on—the invisible, eternal things.
As you stand in line for a ride, food, or a movie you have an expectation that what it is you are obtaining is well worth the wait. God has given us the promise of something in eternity that is well worth the wait. He has painted the wonderful pictures of what that will be like throughout scripture so that as we endure, we can do so with patience.