“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:1-2
Patience is the evidence of an inner strength; an attribute we all wish to posses, yet we live in a society where we rely on external strength’s. We rely on such assets in fear of waiting for the Lord’s best. Patience is the cohort of humility, the enemy of pride and the (Ecclesiastes 7:8) scorch of sanctification.
Patience comes with faith, faith for the moment, and hope for the future. Faith feed’s hope, and when “we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:25) The Lord has shown my sin by revealing the harsh truth of my reliance on myself (pride) and the lack of faith I often posses. A lack of faith that often leads me to question and not trust The Lord in periods of waiting. Still, the Lord continues to redeem.
This lack of faith has played out in my life in numerous ways over the past months. In particular, the plans for my future have changed. A change to be honest I did not desire. I thought I had my life planned as of May 9th, the day of my college graduation. I prayed earnestly and felt I was to serve Christ in Asheville, North Carolina; however, I now feel the Lord has temporally shut those door’s. I was disappointed and felt let down. Being patient is harder than I thought. It caused many tears and sleepless nights wrestling with my thoughts.
With much reluctance, I have had to simply die to my own desires. Something that isn’t always easy to do. Die to my unhealthy yearning for material objects my flesh often desires, to live in my own lavish apartment and to live a life of “perfection”. Meaning living a life that is easy, simple and without complication. I am not settling, but rather pursing a life filled with contentment, joy and wisdom. For I know the desires of the Lord are greater than my own.
The issue of patience revolves around the answer to the question, “What did Christ’s patient suffering produce?” Christ’s patient suffering leaves us with an example of how we are to live as believers. We, too, are called to suffer for righteousness’ sake.
For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer for it, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, nor was guile found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously. (1 Peter 2:20-24)
Christ is the ultimate example of patience, and although we may try, we will never come close to exhibiting the patience of Christ. We often live as if we don’t care about His plan; His creation and we pride fully behave as much of this world does, as though neither He nor His law exists. Pride does not want to wait; it wants instant gratification. Learning patience enables us to endure all thing’s because we are focused on our end purpose, yet we cannot live for this end purpose if we don’t have someone or thing to live for.
In the midst of a period when I felt like God was hiding, He was right there with me. I was reminded of my hope and faith in Him when I read Ecclesiastes 7:8.
“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.”
It spoke to me with hope and that I simply needed to trust in Him. Often harder than I’d like to admit and that he was in control of how ugly life felt at the time. I needed and still continue to be sanctified in the virtue of patience over pride.
18 job applications later and by God’s grace and endless mercies, yesterday I accepted a position with one of the largest and top leading health care system’s in the world. There I will have the ability to learn, grow and be a light to my colleagues and patients. The next year of my life will be spent at home, where I have created my own life full of the simple things. I am forever grateful that the Lord brought me back to the city where I have called home for 22 years. My options are endless through Christ. I can’t wait for the journey.
God is so good!