For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. [Romans 8:24-25]
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
[1 Corinthians 13:4]
“Patience is a virtue” as the quote says, and Biblically often the term “Long suffering” is used for the word patience. Yet think of how it is to endure waiting. That can bring a certain amount of suffering. For some it is waiting for a child and hoping God will provide, others it is waiting for the Lord to provide a spouse that is compatible. Others it may be suffering a desire that goes on unfulfilled for some dream or calling one feels the Lord put in their heart!
Lets look back to some Biblical narratives that are great examples of waiting and suffering as they waited! We have Abraham who longed to have a son and God had gave him a good promise but he had to wait 25 years to see this happen. There was Joseph, the great grandson of Abraham who had dreams in his heart as a 17 year old young man but these were not fully manifest till he was 30.
In Psalm 105, it says:
“and he sent a man before them— Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true.
We have David who as a young man had been annointed next king over Israel but waited a significant time, he was a young man, most likely in later teenage years but did not become king until 30 years also.
What is God often doing while we wait? Growing us, developing our faith, refining our loyalty to him above all else. So easy it is for us as Christians to get our focus too much on the “Blessing” rather then God the one who gives it, and of course God loves to give good gifts, Jesus taught this in (Matthew 7:11) and Psalm 84:11 says “The Lord is a sun and shield, he bestows favor and honor, no good thing does he withold from him whose walk is blameless”
So it is obvious God is not witholding good- but, he knows when it is best for us to receive what he has planned for us, that is good!
In Abraham’s story God seems to refine his character as he waits for a son, and strengthen his faith. He used time to develop Abraham as well as fortify his faith, and he reaffirmed his promise many times over those years as Abraham waited. Though Abraham from a visible sight standpoint had reason to doubt, it says “Abram believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness”
1.) Strengthening Our Faith
How does God test faith? How do we work a muscle, through resistence of weight. And so is faith, requiring us to trust what God says when visible circumstances become heavy weights to challenge the muscle of faith. There is a test of believing God when the odds seem impossible but another test is believing God when time makes temptation to doubt God said.
2.) Purify Our Loyalty—-
There is also, the test of undivided loyalty to God alone. So often as we mature in the faith and walk with Christ, God seems to test where our greatest desire is! Is it in our longing and dream that he puts in our heart? Or totally rooted in Jesus Christ? Now God indeed has given us desires that are not sin that indeed often fit his will for our lives but through waiting he works to purify our hearts so we will love him above even our greatest earthly dreams, desires or goals! From just my limited experience, this takes time, and won’t say I am by any means perfected but see how God has done so much in my heart to purify it over the years. We all can make idols of the heart out of things that are not bad, but if they are misplaced or overly loved then they can grow into idols. So God must work to realign our hearts over time to make it so our trust and delight are more in Him then any good thing he could give.
Proverbs 10:22 says “The blessings of the Lord make one rich, and he adds no sorrow with them”
What can cause sorrow? Getting what we want before God has in mind to give it!
An inheritance claimed too soon will not be blessed at the end.
Would a wise father hand his son the keys to a car before he knew how to drive a vehicle. Likewise God is not unwise to bless us with more we can handle at the moment.
3.) Perfecting Our Character
As we see described in Psalm 105 with Joseph, it says “Till the Word of God proved him true”
Joseph had to grow into his calling and dream, likewise we too must grow to be able to carry God’s dream for us. An example of this I suppose we could use is a woman who wants to find that special man, and God has not necessarily witheld as much as been working on that man, so when he is ready to be a good husband, father, and role model to his family he will fit the bill. Yet men are not made over night, neither are women in the Lord, but God calls mainly men to be the role model to their wives and a reflection of Christ’s love for his Church. Now many young men who have recently gotten saved have to mature in their faith and love and grow in their new identity as a man of God. This is not a quick process but can take time. “Love is patient” – maybe God is testing the patient love of some who may read this and showing them that love must give grace to those that must have patience to develop into who they can truly become im the grace of our Lord Jesus!
4.) Finally, God is Patient With Us.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
The Church, The people who are saved by the grace of The Lord Jesus, are refered to metaphorically as “The Bride of Christ.”
Lets camp out on this, lets ponder, what suffering did Jesus go through to lay hold of us? How long did God patiently wait for each of us to see our error and sin and realize we needed his salvation. And also, isn’t God incredibly patient with us as Christians who so often miss the mark, yet he grants we have grace to grow into what he has called us to become. Praise the Lord!