Patient Endurance; November 23, 2018

2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

Here we have it again: patient endurance/perseverance. That’s not a very popular idea in the Church today! We’re happy to receive God’s love, but the whole idea of needing patient endurance seems hard. We don’t like that! We want an indulgent, sugar-daddy kind of God, and we pitch fits when He doesn’t turn out to be like that. We tend to feel that the need for patient endurance is at odds with the very idea of a loving God. That shows how little we understand about love, and about parenting. God is love, and He is the perfect Father, but we try to cast Him in our own image, rather than understanding that the best we can be is but a pale reflection of who He is. Anyone who has raised children should understand that patient endurance is a highly desirable trait in a child, and one we need to foster and encourage. Psychologists might not agree on very much, but one thing that is universally accepted is that acceptance of delayed gratification is a major indicator of maturity. In other words, patient endurance! Society today seems actively to work against that, with instant everything, and that produces stunted emotional development and a host of problems that come from that. Even things like the opioid epidemic originate in the attitude that “I want to feel good NOW.” As Paul indicates, Jesus is our perfect role model here, as He is in everything else. We don’t know His degree of self-awareness as a child, but rather than launch out into “His ministry” on His own schedule, He waited until John was baptizing in the Jordan, and then He made His move. The Father responded by saying that He was “well pleased” with Jesus. (Matthew 3:17) This was before Jesus had done any miracles, much less gone to the cross. As the perfect Father, God is far more interested in who we are than in what we do, and patient endurance is a major part of that.

This couldn’t be any more applicable to me than it is. When I came to Omura I had visions of traveling around to different churches, teaching the Word and being loved by all. To say the least, that didn’t happen! In the 37 years since, the one thing I can say is that I’m still here. Various things are stirring, and it is entirely possible that God has “instant success” around the corner, but I certainly wouldn’t have been ready for it 37 years ago, and I may well not be ready for it now. It is not my business to set schedules for God to follow! However, faithful obedience is very much my business, indeed my whole business. God has worked on my patient endurance, and He has poured, not just showered, His love on me. I am not to hold back from anything He indicates I am to do, but neither am I to demand that things happen as my feeble mind plots them out. I’ve got to remember that He is indeed God and nothing is impossible for Him, and I am certainly not God, and on my own, nothing is possible for me. (John 15:5)

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You indeed for all that is going on. At this point there’s not much to “write home about,” but I feel a stirring in my spirit. Thank You. Help me rejoice in what You are doing without trying to dictate exactly what that is, much less take credit for anything, so that indeed, Your name may be acknowledged as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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