There I sat looking out of the 4th grade window. It revealed a sparkling blue May sky. It was open to allow the dulcet breeze to waft in. The weather was unusually warm and superb for the Puget Sound region. But there I was stuck in a classroom for two more weeks. I liked my teacher and learning, but I wanted to be out in the fields with Blackie. I wasn’t thinking of all the summer farm work that was ahead. I could only think of the longing to be free. I was impatient for school to be let out and I could enjoy the beautiful, warm out-of-doors.
Had I been patient I might have thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful late May and early June weather.As it turned out that year, the day after school closed for the summer, the cold rainy Puget Sound weather set in for the rest of June. Work did not wait. Hoeing beans, gathering eggs, lopping heads off chickens and myriad farm chores buried my dreams of freedom in a cold, soggy reality.
Human nature is like that. We are pressing on into the future, too busy looking forward to smell the flowers along the way.
I suspect most people recognize the value of patience. Most people who do not have patience know they need to acquire that virtue, but they are too busy. It becomes a vicious cycle. One does not have patience, because of life’s demands. One knows life would go better it one had patience, but the business of life must not be slowed down enough to acquire it; and so life continues at an increasing pace and the longing for patience gets lost in the dust of one’s speeding into the future.
Drivers are often impatient with heavy traffic. So they change lanes to the one that seems to go faster, only to discover that the car that was behind them in the previous lane is passing them.
I have been traveling a street, and have had another driver speed by me, changing lanes furiously out of sight. A few blocks later, I have passed the furious one at a traffic light.
“Time and tide waits for no man.” St. Marher, 1225
They say that as you grow older time speeds by at an increasing pace. The pre-teen feels it is an eternity until the day he or she has the 13th Birthday! The 18 year-old girl anxiously awaits the day when she will be 21 “forever”. It doesn’t work that way. Too soon after her 21st birthday, she longs to get back to that age. The 80 year-old looks at her husband of 58 years and wonders where nearly six decades have flown.
However, time is inflexible, but is very inclusive. Each person gets exactly the same allotment of minutes in each day. There are always, for each person, 1,440 minutes each day and 365 days each year. The question is how we use them. Profitably used, they can enhance not only one’s own life, but the lives of those connected. Used negatively, they can harm others and will eventually harm oneself. Even wasted time has personal and social consequences.
Time is a very interesting element of life. We live in an instant of time. Each moment is separate from the one just past and the one yet to come. We cannot touch either the past or the future. We can neither change the past nor the future. Our triumphs in the past gather dust and others forget them all too soon. The future may be predictable but is filled with the unpredictable. The best we can do is prepare for what we expect to come.
In my youth, I read a lot of science fiction. Many authors explored time travel. There was a common understanding that to go back in time to change (perhaps improve) some event in the past can have unexpectedly dire effects on one’s present. The hero in one book determined that atomic power was too dangerous. He used atomic power to go back in time to kill Alfred Einstein. He returned to his own present in his atomic-powered time machine. He was summarily executed for possessing atomic power.
Travel into the future has other hazards. How would someone from 200 years ago adjust to live in our modern civilization? It would be a change that might drive him out of his mind.
It is much better to be patient with the time we live in. Whatever needs improving must be done in the context of our present civilization.
From John Ploughman’s Journal, by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, On Patience:
“Patience is better than wisdom: An ounce of patience is worth a pound of brains. All men praise patience, but few enough practice it. It is a medicine that is good for all diseases:”
My driving habit was to drive 5-7 mph faster than the limit. My rationale was that it was fast enough to keep away from those who drove slowly and not as fast as the speedsters. It was within reason, so the police, were unlikely to notice and stop me for speeding.
I was driving at my normal speed one day, when the LORD said to me, “Scofflaw, scofflaw, scofflaw.” (the term for those who scoff at laws). He kept it up until I slowed to the speed limit. I set my cruise control and watched the other divers speed around me. Since that time, I have learned that God can still get you there on time, even when you start late.
“All things come to him that waits” is an adage that teaches patience. When you are content to wait and receive in due time what you long for, it removes much of the stress out of life. Impatience leads to worry and worry leads to anxiety, which leads to heart failure. A healthy dose of patience each day can extend your life.
There is another truth: delayed gratification is an indication of maturity. Thus being able to wait patiently for what you desire or need gives you a freedom that impatient youth do not possess. Youthful eagerness to be out of school on a sunny day was foolishness. The world does not work that way. Later in life I had enough experience to know that scheduled times would come around when their time was right, and not before. Being impatient or anxious would not bring them sooner.
“An ounce of patience is worth a pound of brains” Charles Spurgeon
What did the English Evangelist Charles Spurgeon mean when he said “An ounce of patience is worth a pound of brains”? I have been in the situation where I was trying to accomplish something by a boring, tiresome and repetitious activity. I have said to myself, “There’s got to be a better way.” I then spent time attempting to find a “better way” only to discover the time I wasted could have been better spent patiently doing the repetitive action and finish the task. Sometimes it takes more wisdom to do it the “old fashioned way”, manually, then to try to improve by mechanism or electronics.
Rushing into things actually often delays accomplishment. Whereas, approaching a problem deliberately and with patience gives you a more complete understanding and therefore a better outcome. It is better to exercise patience than to frenetically try to think of another way.
Our society has become an instant society. Instant pudding signaled the beginning. Instead of mixing ingredients, cooking them until they thickened and then decanting them into dishes to cool, cooking labs came up with thickening agents. One only has to mix the pudding powder with milk, then pour it out. As it stands, it thickens. This cuts the time significantly.
In my parent’s generation, the houses they bought were for cash. They saved for a number of years until; they had enough to buy a home. After WWII, the GI Bill and FHA were passed into law, opening up credit to millions of home buyers. My first experience with credit was Mobile Oil that issued books of punch cards that had numbers of gallons. As you turned them in you were billed for the amount.
The first general credit purchases were with metal charge plates issued by department stores. The plate carried the purchaser’s name and address. The plate was placed in a stamper that duplicated the customer’s information in carbon copy on a charge slip.
Diner’s Club was one of the first credit cards. By 1950 Diner’s Club and Bank of America had caught on. Petroleum companies were among the first to issue credit cards.
My first cards were for gasoline. My Income was short and I built up so much debt that I could not pay the monthly balances (you could not roll balances over then). I disposed of the cards and had to write humbling letters to the three companies stating that I would be charging no more gas and be paying $10.00 a month until the balances were paid off. Only one company gave me grief.
This increasing ready cash on credit fueled instant gratification and undercut the virtue of patience. No longer was delayed gratification necessary. “Easy monthly payments” were the rule of the road. There is (in my opinion) a pernicious ad on a billboard in Seattle, “Let your home provide non stop adventures”. This really means you use your home equity loan to buy your fun now and do not worry about the reality of paying it off forever.
Thus the American culture, from individuals to the National Government, has been proclaiming the gospel of instant gratification and kicking the can of consequences down the road. “Live today, for tomorrow we die,” has become the underlying dirty secret that no one will talk about. The lack of patience to acquire what we want, will require us some day to pay the piper.
Patience is a virtue that causes us to wait for the acquisition of both needs and wants. There is a great deal of satisfaction in having finally acquired something that truly belongs to us and not the bank.
The other side of patience is with other people. God created mankind to live in community. While there are hermits and recluses who live comfortably alone, they are the exception. Relationships all around us are from the instant “Your total is $89.25. Thank you, have a nice day,” to marriages of 60 years or longer.
God has created all people unique, both physically and attitudinal. Many are fun to associate with, some are pleasant, some are wishy-washy, and others are very hard to get along with.
It is easy to be patient with those who are fun and those who are pleasant. It takes more effort to be patient with the wishy-washy. And it takes long suffering patience to be in relationship with the acerbic personalities.
God teaches us that Love is patient.
“Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, ” 1 Corinthians 13:4 (Living Bible).
In older translations the Greek is μακροθυμέω, literally meaning “long-spirited”, thus “patient, long-suffering, forbearing”. This combined with kindness is one of the traits of love. This love is that which does not seek one’s own pleasure from another, but gives pleasure to another.
This love is that which does not seek one’s own pleasure from another, but gives pleasure to another.
So, patience as a trait of love is to bear the acerbity of others with kindness. Not returning in kind, but absorbing the bitterness or anger with grace. A real life situation is one where a person in fury calls you foul names, but you respond by blessing them and praying for their peace. You readily confess your fault and seek their forgiveness. When you are not at fault, you do not assert your right, but patiently bear the brunt of the anger.
Patience comes as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 lists the nine fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of patience is a variation of the same word in Greek as a trait of love. This is an indication that patience is not of human origin, but is a manifestation of God in the lives of people, whether they are believers of not. The image of God is impressed upon all mankind. Tragically for some it is so smothered that evil predominates. In contast, for most people, though they do not realize the source, God’s grace comes through all their worldliness and human desires to bless others.
Each of us have problems of personality. We tend not to see them in ourselves, but can readily see them in others. Some of us are hard to live with.
“Many people are born crying, live complaining and die dlsappointed; they chew the bitter pill, which they would not even know it was bitter if they had the sense to swallow it whole with a cup of patience.” Charles Spurgeon.
That cup of patience can be administered by a loving friend who is willing to offer patience in exchange for ones tears, complaints and disappointments. People motivated by God can offer this ministry to the hurting world. God has called all people to be in relationship with one another. He has done that so the strong can help the weak; the loving can give to the unloved and the patient can bear with long-suffering the anger and bitterness of the hurting.
John 3:16 is a verse of Scripture that most people in our culture know or at least is familiar to them. This signature verse packs a world of meaning, but it can be summed up in “God gave!”
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Romans 5:8
Another explication is in Romans 5:8. Here is the love of God made clear. Even when a person is unworthy of God’s love, even when a person is opposed to Him, God is patient with us. His love is not diminished.
“ But God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Far above anything we can expect, God’s patient love is present in our lives long past the time when we continue to reject Him. From the Beginning, He knew each person who would be finally open to the Holy Spirit. In His love He made provision for each one. That provision is in the illogical, incomprehensible (but true) sacrifice of His only beloved Son to allow us to become able to be adopted into God’s family.
Jesus, God’s Son in human flesh, wholly God and wholly man, became the sacrificial Lamb of God. In our culture, the concept of a blood sacrifice is strange and even repugnant. And yet, in God’s economy that is the way sin can be cleansed. An innocent victim must die and its blood applied to cover and wash away sin. This process makes the subject clean and worthy to enter into God’s family.
God is patient to await the right moment in each person’s life when that process of applying Christ’s blood to one’s life can occur. He is long-suffering with our rebellion, but he never, never, never gives up on a person. In concord with His Father’s love, Jesus went willingly to the cross and voluntarily bore each person’s sins on His infinite shoulders. When Jesus, the Christ, died, He carried our sin into the grave and left them there when He was resurrected.
He is long-suffering with our rebellion, but he never, never, NEVER gives up on a person.
Therefore, unbelievers have not only available to them for their choosing life eternal, but also the fruit of the Spirit. Love that is patient and kind is available to believers. It is our joy to offer that to the world. The people around us are in desperate need of what we have in Christ. We have the glorious responsibility to teach the wounded where to find healing. We have the high privilege of sacrificing our comfort to bring surcease into lives of the frenetic. We have the precious opportunity of sharing the inestimable and infinite love of God with unbelievers all around us.
God grant us that joy! Hallelujah
ANSWER: The answer is simple: God ordained it. It is also infinitely complex, far beyond our understanding. God in His wisdom from before He created the world, knew that man would break fellowship with Him, sin and fall away from God. In the counsel of His wisdom and at just the right time the Son of God chose to set aside His glory and without surrendering any of His Godhead, was born fully human.
The infinite God became a finite man without diminishing Who He was as God and without being any less a man. The Son did this because He loves people so very much that He was willing to pay whatever price it took to redeem individual people.
His sacrifice of His own glory, His taking on the burden of all the sins of mankind, His willingness to subject himself to the humiliation of flogging and an horrific death, His willingness to experience His Father’s rejection of Him as sin-bearer, and finally suffer death—real cessation of life—were that price. Yes, the Son of God paid a high price for you and for me.
I cannot conceive of how God could fit into the minuscule frame of a man—physically, emotionally, mentally and into a soul. Yet it is true. This is beyond our ken, as many of the ways of God are. We look at the life of Jesus and we see simply a man was so utterly devoted to God He calls Him Father. However, that is a material perception. Yes, Jesus prayed often, perhaps continually to His Father. Still He and His father were (and are) one. God is a Trinity and inseparable.
There is another mind-boggling truth: As Jesus died on the cross, God died on the cross. He experienced real death, but God is greater than death. In so doing, God destroyed death as it encompassed the Lord Jesus Christ. He rose victorious over death as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
After His resurrection, when Jesus met with the Disciples and others, His celestial body was in material form they could handle. He could eat. Yet, the material world could not limit His body even though it was material (one of our great promises is that we, upon passing through death, the defeated enemy, will have bodies that Jesus demonstrated). Some people believe that the Son of God will always be in bodily form as He was in His resurrection appearances.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that Son of God was, is, and always will be the God/man. He identified so with His beloved creatures that He will always bear us in His image. God honors us over all creation by becoming human and bearing our image. This is a mystery that none of the angels of heaven will ever experience. Thus, mankind is truly the crown of God’s creation!
Holy Spirit, our God and One whom empowers, draw me into Christ. Cause me to yield to His control of my life. I need His cleansing of the sin in my life. I earnestly desire for Christ’s life to be manifested in my life. I cry with Paul, “For me to live is Christ.” I long for that to be true.
I confess the truth to You that “the world is too much with me.” Therefore, O Holy Spirit, I need You to empower my spirit to resist the inroads of sin. Help me control my eyes and my mind. Strengthen my spirit to use those sin-thoughts as promptings to praise the Lord and to immediately confess and surrender again and again until Christ is made manifest in my thoughts and imaginations of my heart.
My Jesus, my Savior, envelope me in Your robe of righteousness, that I may be a light of truth in this world. I recognize that I am not worthy, but You have chosen me. You are cleansing me. Build in my heart a sure foundation to contain your love. Make my heart a fit vessel that does not leak, but does overflow so that Your love that brims will spill over into the lives of those who You bring into my life.
Make me a light that shines as a beacon, drawing men and women to You. Make me into a window, transparent of self that reveals the character of the Savior—His love, His compassion, His patience, His grace.
Make me a light that shines as a beacon, drawing men and women to You. Make me into a window, transparent of self that reveals the character of the Savior—His love, His compassion, His patience, His grace. Use me, my Lord, to fulfill Your purposes in the lives of those You assign as my responsibility. Give me the resources to attract others to You. Give me the boldness to speak Your name, regardless of the cost. Give me the sensitivity to Your Spirit to hold my tongue and allow Your to work in their hearts to perform that glorious heart transplant—removing the stony heart and replacing it with a heart of flesh in love with You.
Father, my God, You have redeemed me from a Christ-less eternity. You sent Your son to save me from eternal destruction. I am acutely aware that before the Holy Spirit’s revelation of Jesus in a way I could not resist, I was hell-bent on the road to everlasting destruction. In Your infinite grace, You chose to adopt me into Your family. You, my loving Father, sent the Holy Spirit to draw me. You my gracious Creator, sent Your eternal Son to die for my sin, You, my empowering God, sent Your Spirit to arouse me to Who You are and alert me to the disaster my life was before You redeemed me.
All glory, majesty, dominion are Yours. All praise, honor, adoration belong to You, Almighty God.
Hallelujah to the One God in three Persons.