Quite possibly the greatest lesson in the Bible about patience and endurance (both makrothymia) or lack thereof, is the one of Abraham and Sarah. The Lord comes to Abraham and promises that he will be the father of literally millions (Gen 15:5) and yet for years and years Abraham remained childless. He began to doubt God’s faithfulness in His promises. So, he and Sarah decided impatiently to take matters into their own hands and create a child of Abraham through a slave girl. That child, Ishmael, became the thorn in the Israelites’ side until this very day. And even though they tried to circumvent God, God still came through on His promise with the birth of their own son even after Sarah was determined to be post-child birthing age.
They had hoped. They had endured. Until they didn’t. Abraham and Sarah created their own timeline based on their inaccurate belief in the limited power of God.
When was the last time you said, “It’s too late. It’ll never happen.”? Although what you have prayed for might not come to fruition as you have asked, God is still working with you in the situation. Sometimes it seems you’ve been listening and waiting patiently yet at every turn you feel thwarted, abused, attacked, broken. It’s time like these that our faith is tested. You are not alone. Each one of the apostles, men who had spent hours, days, years in the very presence of God would have to then learn to keep trusting, keep enduring.
He is lining up your circumstances in a way that is better than you could ever imagine. When you wait for the Lord, you should look forward to what He will do with joyful expectation and confident hope, because He is providing the very best for you.”Charles Stanley, 30 Life Principles
He wants the very best fruit to come out of you. Not just a red apple, but the juiciest red apple you’ve ever tasted. He wants trees rooted deeply in Him, watered richly by Him and grown in His beautiful light. It means in those times of trials, long suffering (also makrothymia) we don’t let go. We don’t try and go it alone.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:1-2
Our hope can endure because we know He is a God who gives generously (James 1:5). He will provide in our darkest times; we need only look for Him in the circumstance. We patiently wait for our hope to bloom into something bigger and more beautiful which may be when we finally are home in heaven.
Notice that we take action while waiting? Patiently is an adverb. It describes an activity. While we endure through our trial we pray, we seek His love, we experience His joy and peace. We watch for ways He is using us to help others.
The key to patience is faith in the all-embracing, all-guiding, all-wise, all-gracious providence of God to transform all the interruptions of his children into rewards. Can we not, then, write in big letters, as a heading over our lives and over every frustration, “Satan, you meant that for evil; God meant it for good” (Gen 5:2)?John Piper
Friends, we are all waiting. Waiting for small things and very large things. We are waiting for the disappearance of pain and the appearance of our hopes come alive. At times, we say we wait to feel complete or more alive. And God is saying be patiently waiting, watching, learning, trusting. He is doing great things in you.
Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:10-11