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A Lesson On Patience From A Rock Song?
“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NKJV).
I loved the rock singer Tom Petty. One of my favorite songs by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers was called “The Waiting.” The chorus is: “The waiting is the hardest part. Every day you see one more card. You take it on faith, you take it to the heart. The waiting is the hardest part.” I totally agree that waiting is the hardest part. We spend much of lives waiting. We all wait in line at the grocery store, doctor’s office, and on the phone for customer service. These are annoying but we all do it. It is much more difficult when we wait for God to move in our lives.
God is faithful and He most certainly loves us, but He also moves at His own pace. I think part of the waiting and slow pace is deliberate, but not out of spite – but rather love. He desires for us to trust and love Him completely – in good times and bad. He wants us to turn over all aspects of our lives, public and private, to Him. He wants your obedience even when you don’t understand.
In Genesis 22 God clearly tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac. As Tom Petty said, “you take it on faith.” In all seriousness, I doubt if I would have the courage or faith that Abraham displayed. Would you? When we wait, we suffer. We endure mental pain which is just as significant as physical pain. A body cannot be healthy unless it is in good condition physically, mentally, and spiritually.
I have often wondered about 1 Peter 5:10: “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” This is a beautiful promise from God that He will eventually rescue us from our suffering. However, the troubling part is “a little while.” I would prefer that to be better quantified. Does this mean weeks, months or years? This issue of time is addressed in 2 Peter 3:8: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”
At first glance, this appears to be a riddle. But with deeper thinking, we can see that God is telling us that the concept of human time is irrelevant to Him. The bottom line is your suffering and waiting will last until He decides it is time for it to end. Your job during the interim is to remain in Him and He will remain in you. He will wait with you and comfort you. If the waiting does not end today, it is certainly not because He does not love you but because today is not the right day – but be assured that the right day is coming.
I take comfort in 1 Corinthians 10:13: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” During periods of waiting, we are tempted. We are tempted by the enemy to turn from God and put our faith in ourselves. The enemy is a liar and must always be rebuked in the name of Jesus.
I love the beautiful scripture of Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.” Forbearance includes the concept of patience during periods of long-suffering. We cannot develop forbearance alone. We must remain in Him and Him in us. Alone we can accomplish nothing of significance.
Prayer: Dear God, Forgive us for our lack of patience and failure to use our time waiting as a time of spiritual growth and introspection. Continue to develop in us the Fruit of forbearance. Amen.
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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