by Mark G. Holbrook
Has it ever occurred to you that we need to be patient about learning patience? In terms of challenges and disappointments, no other season of my life has been as difficult as the past couple of years. But God, in his goodness, is faithful to strengthen our faith and deepen our knowledge of Him even in times of trial—especially in times of trial.
So, it is in this season of difficulty that I am—by God’s grace—growing more patient. Leader to leader, I’d like to share with you what I’m learning.
Deep patience comes only through trials. James 1:2-4 tells us to, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance (perseverance). And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Through our trials we are sanctified, becoming more like Christ. There is joy in that! God uses life’s challenges to refine us, producing patience as we wait upon the Lord.
Deep patience sees God’s perfect timing in all things. Do you believe the Lord works all things for His purposes, and in His perfect time?
Ecclesiastes 3 talks about how there is a season and time for everything:
- A time to seek: There are times when we eagerly build and gather (like building, growing, and expanding our ministry).
- A time to lose: In our earthly experience, nothing lasts forever. There is a time when God makes it clear that He has taught us all He intends in good times. Now a few years of famine and testing will be required.
- A time to keep: There are times when we need to hang on, to get everything we can out of a situation; to make the best of it. Times to do all we can to work through challenges.
- A time to cast away: Then there are times when we just need to let go, to quit trying to hang on to every dime. This is the time to cut losses and move on, trusting God to restore, provide, and renew.
A time of difficulty is a time for patience. For waiting upon the Lord. Yes, we need to be busy in our labors, diligent in our efforts, and innovative in seeking godly, wise solutions. Yet our peace comes from patiently waiting and trusting in God’s perfect timing.
Deep patience sees God’s hand in everything. Nothing is outside of God’s power and control. Not even evil. Psalm 37:7 says, “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.”
Even if we are shocked by behavior, or wrongs done against us, we can be confident that God has not forsaken us. He is greater and higher than any earthly power.
God will make all things beautiful in his perfect time. I’ve been ready for this season of difficulty to be over for a long time now. But God reminds me, “Be patient. In due time, you will see my timing is perfect.” I believe God brings us through the trials in His time, not ours. But He does bring us through. Psalm 40 tells us, “I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD.”
Are you learning to be patient about learning patience? What is God teaching you?