The Pryor Times

March 6, 2014

The need for patience

Steve Lay

PRYOR, OK — The weather has been the topic of much conversation lately.  It has been a long, cold, winter, and like many other people, I am ready for spring.  The ice and snow have caused several individuals to have a bad case of “cabin fever.”  Others have had to deal with frozen water lines, or even worse, busted pipes.  Although we know that spring is just around the corner, many have told me that they need a good dose of patience.  James 1:3 says, “The testing of your faith produces patience.”  Paul tells us to glory in tribulations, because tribulation produces perseverance.

Many who are anxious for the cold weather to be over may feel like the person who prayed, “Lord, give me patience, and give it to me right now!”  Perhaps it would help to think about others who had really hard times.  Can you imagine how much patience it took for Noah to build the ark while people all around him were mocking and ridiculing him?  He undoubtedly needed patience to overcome their snide remarks.

Consider also how much patience it took for Jesus as He trained and developed His disciples.  He often had many things He wanted to say to them, but they were unable to understand at the time.  Jesus had to wait until they were ready.  Later, the apostles were patient in teaching others.  These were all successful because of their patience.

Patience is that quality that keeps us from becoming discouraged and quitting.  Hebrews 12:1 describes the Christian life as a race and says that it must be run with endurance.  Many people begin the race but quit before it is over.  Satan throws many obstacles in our way.  Think about all the things he did to Job.

James writes in James 5:10-11, “My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.  Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord-- that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”

It is one thing to be afflicted or punished when we do wrong, but it is another thing when we have to suffer for doing what is right.  But we must remember that God will reward us.  Peter writes in I Peter 2:20, “For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently?  But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.”  He added in 1 Peter 4:15-16, “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters.  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.”  That is much easier said than done!

Patience is required in doing good.  God will give eternal life to those who patiently continue doing good. He will not forget them (Hebrews 6:10).  Paul writes in Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”  Hebrews 10:36 says, “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.”

We have all heard that quitters never win, and winners never quit.  My grandfather used to say, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”  Don’t let anyone or anything cause you to quit obeying and serving the Lord.  Jesus said in Matthew 10:22, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.  But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

Perhaps this long, hard winter can teach us something about patience.  Patience is need in all areas of life.  At any rate, it won’t be long until spring!