Whoever is patient has great understanding . . . (Proverbs 14:29)
You’ve probably heard it more than a hundred times throughout your life: “Patience is a virtue.” The question is, do we even know how to define the word patience? One of the best definitions I have seen for patience is “Waiting without complaining.” Is there anyone reading these words who would say that is an easy thing to do?
When the sky is blue, the clouds are fleecy, and everything is going our way, the practice of patience is relatively easy. But when the waves of challenge begin to crash over us, we have a tendency to grow impatient . . . quickly! I know that’s true of me. And at those times, I must remind myself that the Word of God praises patience as a fruit of the Holy Spirit in the life of the disciple of Christ. Patience is a gift that is given to every believer, and the patience we show in our lives reveals our faith in, our trust in, and our dependence on our Redeemer.
Let us return to that definition of patience — waiting without complaining — and add some important insight into the word waiting. Waiting is not a posture of passivity or resignation; it is filled with activity that is submitted and surrendered to the will of God.
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus . . . (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)
It’s hard to imagine someone winning a race by passively waiting on all the other runners. Rather, to run with endurance is to proceed with perseverance through the the challenging circumstances that will inevitably come against us. Remember, this is a practice; patience will not be developed in a day, but daily. God will allow us to enter into circumstances that are designed to test our faith and train our faithfulness.
Our goal is to keep on looking to Jesus, knowing that He has promised to bring us through our race with freedom, joy, and faithfulness, bringing glory to God and good to all others.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!