“Lord, I need patience, and I need it right now!” Be careful what you ask for; patience comes through practice…
1 The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
There are several ways to describe patience. Let’s begin with the dictionary,
-the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
-an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
-quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience.
One kind of patience is with a child or person that pushes boundaries of prudence, safety, rules, or obedience. It’s a type of bearing with, or striving with the person until a breakthrough is achieved.
Another kind of patience is when a farmer waits for his crops to grow. It’s a slow, but measured patience as is found in Mark 4:26-29.
Yet another kind of patience is found in Ephesians 6:11-13,
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
This type of standing is the military version, which means, “last man standing.” A soldier takes all his enemy has to offer and continues to stand.
Combine all of these definitions of “patience” and we get a composite that describes the patient ferment of the early church. They strove with their opponents and persecutors–and sometimes, executors–showing them a better way, the Jesus Way. Their firm belief in the Savior Jesus Christ never wavered, and they stood the test. Their way was slow, but sure. By the fourth century, a good half of the Roman Empire had chosen to follow Christ. Tomorrow, we will read one of the accounts of a patient Christian.
Abba, patience is part of the fruit that You are growing in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23). May we not get ahead of You (as did Abraham with Hagar, Moses with the Egyptian whom he killed, and David with Bathsheba) and learn patience, the kind that our early Christian brothers and sisters had. They are rooting us on; may we give them reason to rejoice in You, O Lord. Amen.