Thursday, July 22, 2010

Patience, Again?

How often have you heard the following statements?

I prayed, “LORD, give me patience,” and He sent me tribulation.

“You know the Bible says ‘tribulation works patience.’ I guess if you don’t want problems and trials you just better not pray for patience.”

“Patience is a virtue, brother. You’ve got to wait. You know, God’s doing something in your life.”

Although parts of these thoughts may not be 100% off base, I do think they represent a common misapplication of the ideas in Romans and James. This way of thinking creates fear in us; a fear that God will cause us to have many trials, tribulations and difficulties so we will learn to be patient.

I believe the opposite is true. Instead of being afraid to ask God for help, we must believe He strengthens us as we wait patiently. We must trust Him in the difficult times to change our attitude and our response to these moments when answers seem to be evasive or when it seems as though God does not answer.
Our attitude always affects the outcome. Patience is a good-natured response to delays and incompetence*. Let us consider four possible characteristics of metals and their relationship to our attitudes during the trials of life.
  • Malleable is the capability of being shaped by pressure; adaptable*
  • Ductile is the characteristic of being stretched thin or undergoing change of form without breaking *
  • Flexible is the potential of bending without breaking*
  • Resilient is the ability of springing back or returning to the original form of position after being bent *
When we impatiently demand our own way, we be easily offended, hard and brittle and therefore easily damaged.
If we patiently endure with hope and faith, we’ll be malleable, ductile, flexible and resilient. We will be moldable and God will use the situation to our advantage. We will “spring back” from trials even stronger than before.

Lord, I need to respond to life’s delays and people’s incompetence in a good-natured way. Help me deal with restlessness and annoyance in my life. Holy Spirit, give me patience.

As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring [patient, unwavering] hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3  NLT

Check out the next blog on patience: OK, I need more patience... but with people?

*The definitions used are paraphrases of the meanings given in Dictionary! and applications for the iPhone and iTouch.

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