At the recent Church AGM I was led to the following thoughts, and thought that it may do us all good to consider once more the thoughts God placed on my heart, and were reiterated at two of our recent Sunday services…
James 1: 2 -8: “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. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
This last 12 months, I’m sure many, if not all of us have had frustration and impatience as we have sat and waited for the results of our vision report. I know I have, and I think I speak on behalf of my fellow deacons when I say; patience is a gift from God that we have all had to learn the hard way!
We can all take encouragement from the verses we have read in James. I must admit that I found verse two very hard to come to terms with, but if we continue to read – as we did – then we can see that God has a purpose in our impatience!
I found a verse in Ecclesiastes very enlightening, chapter 7 verse 8 -”The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” Let me read verses 8 – 10 as it is found in the Message – “Endings are better than beginnings. Sticking to it is better than standing out. Don’t be quick to fly off the handle. Anger boomerangs. You can spot a fool by the lumps on his head. Don’t always be asking, “Where are the good old days?” Wise folks don’t ask questions like that.”
Wise words from a wise man.. words that we all should take to heart and try to live by..
Yes impatience often leads to anger, and the more we get angry, greater becomes our frustration.
In 2 Chronicles 20 we come across a clerk of King David and Solomon who was told about the vast armies that were amassing against Judah. What did Jehoshaphat do? Well the first thing he didn’t do was panic! He called the people of Judah together and proclaimed in front of them all their allegiance to God, the Creator, the one who called Abraham His friend. He reminded God - as if God needed reminding – of His past deeds in saving and protecting His people, and he tells God that the enemy was at the borders. He then says these words – words which over the last twelve months I have pondered on, the end of verse 12 – “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”
Over the last 12 months we have been forced to look up, and when we do, we have seen that our Lord has and is doing things in our midst. We still do not know the end from the beginning, but we know that our Lord will see whatever through to its end.
Finally I am reminded of Paul’s prayer for the Colossians in chapter one and verse 11 - “Being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.” Again I quote from the Message – “As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that He has for us.”
May that be true of each one of us as we wait and work patiently for God’s true outcome.