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by Margaret D. Mitchell
Week of June 1, 2014
"Is my complaint directed to a human being? Why should I not be impatient?" -Job 21:4
Of all the people I can think of in the Bible—besides Jesus—Job is the one that comes to mind most in regards to patience. Many of us have heard the adage, “The patience of Job.” This is true!
Job had a measure of patience before his losses, but God had more for Job! God takes us from glory to glory, from fruit production to much fruit production (John 15:1-16) as He works through us. Job learned that patience is inherently full of hope and suffering and that endurance through a trial can be our best teacher. Job learned he was being more prepared for God’s future for him.
Personally, if there is one thing I can say I have learned through one of my longest firey trials is that God has been patient with me for a lifetime. We come to understand better His patience with us as we are patient with ourselves and with others. God was patient with me when I felt alone in my suffering and when, overwhelmed by pain, I thought only of myself. He extended mercy and grace to me in a way that no one else could—all while He transformed me in the trial.
Patience—also described as forbearance and longsuffering—is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). It is sometimes described as the gift no one wants because if you pray for patience, you will receive an opportunity to be patient in which you will have to wait for what you desire while you forebear with others. This is what happened to Job.
God didn’t do a work solely in Job. He did a work in his three friends Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar as well and also in Job’s community at large. God had an audience as He allowed the affliction of a righteous man as well as a double restoration. This is evidence of God’s redemption.
I’ve heard it said that it’s better to have a redeemed relationship than a perfect one. There is so much wisdom in this. There is no comparison to that which has been broken, fired, refined and proven faithful to that which has yet to be broken.
To be broken open affords exponential growth on a deep level—multiplicity, the fruit of the Spirit planted and produced inwardly and outwardly.
Forbearance is a facet of love in motion. God uses forbearance with others as a winepress to produce patience within us. This is a double blessing for which we should be thankful!
Job was forbearing with his friends, even when they accused him of being impatient. And it was after he prayed for them that God blessed him double (Job 42:10). Imagine the impression this made to Job’s friends after they condemned him and then after they were forgiven by God. Humbling one would imagine.
If you’re going through a patience journey, don’t give up. God is stretching you. He is purposing your trial. It may feel like nothing good is happening, but there is—patience that you will need and God will use going forward.
James 2:1-4 tells us, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
So we see that God builds us in trials, even though we may feel like we’re being torn down. The torn down feeling is just our flesh being crucified so that Jesus can rise and shine through us even more (2 Cor 14:10). God is constantly transforming us to live holy lives (1 Thes 4:7).
Remember, too, that God is patient. God promises us in 1 Peter 5:10 that "After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you."
We are called to patiently endure as Hebrews 10:35-36 tells us, "...Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised."
If you are walking through a journey of patience, like Job, you will feel like anything but patient. But do not despair…when God’s work in you is made complete, He will bring restoration and blessings. To Him be the glory!
This devotional was adapted from Margaret's forthcoming book, "Enduring Grace." All rights reserved. Copyright 2014.