Patience

By Adam Lowry, CBM National Intern –

It’s hard sometimes to wait, especially when others are getting something before you.  As an intern, I am raising support for a mission trip and I have only raised a small portion of the dollars needed for my support account.  Some of the other interns have already collected at least 50% of their support, and I feel left behind. Me, as a person, I want to be the person ahead of everyone; I want to be the one who has it all together.  During all this waiting, who are some people in the Bible who had trouble with patience and what did they do about it?

One of the best stories of patience is the story of Abraham and Sarah.  God promised Abraham that he would have descendants as numerous as the stars (Genesis 15:1-6). This was despite the fact that Abraham and his wife Sarah were unable to have children when they were younger, and were too old to have children at the time of this promise. However, we do know that Abraham believed God would keep His promise, and God counted it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:5-6)  Despite God reinforcing the promise over several years, when the promise was not fulfilled right away, Sarah suggested that Abraham take Sarah’s handmaid Hagar to have a child (Genesis 16). Abraham took her advice and the resulting child was Ishmael. It was not until many years after the original promise, when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 99 years old, that the promise was fulfilled by the birth of Isaac through Sarah (Genesis 17:15; Genesis 21:1-8).  Because Isaac was the child of promise, not Ishmael, it caused strife in the household because the inheritance of Abraham went to Isaac. The fallout from this decision continues to this day, through descendants of Ishmael (Arabs) and the descendants of Isaac (Jews), as they continue to fight over who should own land in the area of Palestine.

Another great story of patience is the story of Job.  Job was probably the most well-known person of patience in the Bible. In fact, the saying “the patience of Job” is commonly referred to, in some circles, when talking about someone who is very patient. A brief summary of the book of Job shows us that God considered Job to be a man who was perfect and upright in all his ways (Job 1:1, 8; Job 2:3).  Satan discussed this with God and tried to explain Job’s faith as a byproduct of God’s protection. However, God allowed Satan to test Job by attacking Job’s livelihood, his family, and his physical body. Satan’s attack was so vicious that even Job’s wife told him that he should curse God and die. Despite this, Job rebuked his own wife, and refused to curse God (Job 2:9-10).  Throughout the book of Job, we find that Job searches for answers as to why this had happened to him. His friends tried to advise him but their advice was somewhat contradictory and accused of Job of deserving what had happened. It was not until Job examined himself and cried out to God that God answered Him and set Job straight. Job believed what God said and God blessed Job abundantly above and beyond what he had done in the past.

Patience really does entail suffering on some level. However, when we continue to seek God’s intervention in the matter instead of our own, He blesses us and shows us, at some point, how He uses it to our good and to His glory (Romans 5:3-5; Galatians 6:9).

Edited by CBM National

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