Patience through Suffering
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds. (James 1:2)
Oswald Chambers defined patience as more than endurance: “A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see and He stretches and strains the saint. Often the saint thinks he cannot take anymore. Then God continues to stretch until His purpose is in sight and then He lets us fly.” In other words, when we think God is not coming to our rescue, He is in fact performing an even greater miracle than merely changing our circumstances to make us more comfortable. Instead, He is changing us within.
The apostle James tells us what the testing of our faith produces: perseverance leading to maturity and completeness of faith (1:3). And the apostle Paul said that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). He also said that God causes all things—including our sufferings—to work together for good to those who love God (Romans 8:28). Our experiences of suffering have a purpose beyond what we can see from our limited perspective.
How do we learn to view all of life’s difficulties from God’s perspective? By the renewing of our mind; by reading daily the promises of God’s Word which tell us what is true . . which tell us how to think . . . which tell us what to do when we suffer: “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Our heavenly Father is perfectly trustworthy and He alone knows exactly what each of us must endure in order to have proven character formed in us.
God’s purpose in creating us is to have a relationship with us and enjoy our fellowship. How much of our attention would God get if our lives were always rosy? Our chief purpose in life is to bring glory to God. One of the greatest ways to glorify God is to maintain our hope and trust in Him when the trials of life would lead us to do otherwise.
Heavenly Father, I have suffered in the past and I know I will suffer in the future. I want to learn to suffer with patience and faith, trusting that Your purposes for my life are being accomplished. Amen.