In reality this devotional will be about trials because that is exactly what we think of when these traits are mentioned. For how can we develop a calm endurance or patience unless we are going through trials. We all have different trials, but each one, no matter what level we may put it on, is important to God and is for the purpose of making us more like the Lord. Romans 8:28-29 say that all things work together for our good if we love God. Why? So that we might be conformed to the image of God.
WAITING FOR GOD
Impatience: Someone said,
“Do you remember when you were very young? If you were like me then impatience would have been part of your make up. Everything had to be done immediately, if not sooner. ‘Later’ was light-years away and ‘tomorrow’ was beyond eternity. Did we learn anything as children about patience or is that something that grows on you with each passing year?”
There is a sad little story about a child who found a flask-shaped cocoon of an emperor moth and kept it in a little box for a year, waiting fairly patiently for something to happen. The cocoon of the emperor moth is peculiar in its shape and construction. A narrow opening is left at the neck of the structure through which the perfect moth forces its way out. You would wonder, as this child did, how such a large moth could pass through such a small opening.
Eventually, the time arrived for the moth to escape from its long confinement. The child watched its efforts for hours as it struggled to get out, but it just couldn’t seem to make it. Finally, the child’s patience was exhausted. Perhaps, she thought, because it had been kept in a box rather than in its natural environment, it had been weakened in some way. In any event, the child’s compassion overtook wisdom and with the point of some scissors, carefully she snipped the opening to make it larger. And then with perfect ease the moth appeared, dragging a huge swollen body and small shriveled wings. The child watched breathlessly, waiting to see a marvelous transformation take place. But the wait was in vain. It didn’t change into a creature of great beauty with exquisitely marked wings, but remained a stunted abortion, crawling painfully through its brief life instead of flying through the air on rainbow wings.
What the child had failed to appreciate in an impatience tempered by compassion, is that as the moth struggle its way through the narrow opening of the cocoon, body juices are forced into the wings and muscles. The child, innocently, had circumvented God’s perfect design because of impatience.
A great deal is said in the Bible about waiting for God, or on God. We so easily grow impatient of God’s delays. Much of our trouble in life comes from our restlessness and sometimes reckless haste. We cannot wait for the fruit to ripen, we pick it green. We cannot wait for the answers to our prayers, although the things we may ask for may require many years in their preparation for us. We are urged to walk with God, but at times God walks oh so slowly. It’s indeed fortunate that our God is faithful as well as patient because so many times He has to wait for us. We can look up to the unfailing source of spiritual power available to us all. In the most hectic hours we can learn to listen to a still small voice of calmness.
In our human way of thinking, patience or endurance is just putting up with, getting through it, keeping our mouth shut and getting it over with, grumbling on the inside, but grinning and bearing it so to speak. This is not patience at all.
Patience and Endurance according to VINES is an abiding under, in other words to bear up courageously under suffering. Vines says Patience is the quality that does not surrender to circumstances or succumb to trial; it is the opposite of despondency and is associated with hope. The Greek word means cheerful or hopeful endurance. Bible patience does not sit and fidget, wondering when the test or trial will be over. It joyfully looks at the benefits of the situation at hand while looking also toward the hope of a blessed outcome. Instead of grumbling in the long lines at the grocery store, it looks for a way to be a living witness glowing with the love of God, showing others there is peace even in the midst of hectic situations. Bible patience looks at the good in the circumstance. It walks by faith even in the worst circumstance.
Websters says to be patient is bearing or enduring pain, trials or the like with out complaint and with composure. To be patient is to be expectant with calmness or without discontent, to be undisturbed by obstacles, delays, or failures, to persevere. Endurance is a state or capability of lasting, continuance, it is the power of continuing under pain, hardship or distress with out being overcome. This bring in the aspect of being calm which is freedom from motion, agitation, or disturbance, still, quiet, serene, undisturbed by passion or emotion, not agitated or excited, tranquil. Wow! Now put calm alongside of patience or endurance. Only God can develop this kind of patience.
In James 1:2-5 we read My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
So our faith is tried which in turn works our patience or gives us the opportunity to put forth the effort or activity to produce Godly patience. If we allow God to take control and bear us up under trials without complaint, then we become “perfect and entire lacking nothing.” In other words, it develops us into mature Christians so that we are fully developed in all the attributes of God. But God doesn’t leave us in the midst of our trials. Through it all He promises the wisdom we need which is ours for the asking.
II Peter 1:5-8 says And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Here again we see that these traits which include patience make us mature Christians. They will cause us not to be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do we long to know Christ? Then we must accept the fact that our patience will be worked in order to draw us closer to Him.
One day as I was on my way to take care of a trial that I was experiencing, and I was a little anxious about, I popped in a CD and hit the random button. The hymn “Be Still my Soul” began playing. Later in the same day I had to be somewhere else in relation to this problem and once again I hit the random button on the CD player. Same song! What a blessing!
Be still, my soul-the Lord is on thy side! Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain; Leave to thy God to order and provide-In every change He faithful will remain. Be still, my soul-thy best, thy heav’nly Friend, Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul-thy God doth undertake To guide the future as He has the past; Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake-All now mysterious shall be bright at last. Be still, my soul- the waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul-the hour is hast’ning on When we shall be forever with the Lord, When disappointment, grief and fear are gone, Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored. Be still, my soul-when change and tears are past, All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
Often the Holy Spirit has whispered to my heart, “Be Still and know that I am God” or as Moses said “Stand Still and see the salvation of the Lord. . . “
A few weeks ago as I was attempting to be an encouragement to a good friend by bringing in a meal after Matthew’s surgery, the tables were turned and she was a great encouragement to me. She related to me that her husband and she were discussing how the Lord had afflicted them so they could learn to be more like Him. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. (Psalm 119:71) They discussed that if all this had not happened, they may have gone astray. Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. (Psalm 119:67) What a way to look at life’s trials! She said her husband told her that the Lord could very well be working in her son’s life too. She said she had never thought of that before. Psalm 119:50 also says “This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.”
My good friend told me that she tried not to look at her trials as greater than others. The trials others go through are just as big and important to God as what she faces day by day. What an encouragement and a blessing and a reminder to say thank you to the Lord for trials and not to murmur or complain.
Note: This devotional was written a few years ago. Since then, my friend’s son has died and gone home to be with the Lord. My friend still exhibits the grace of God in her life in dealing with this trial.
And in Hebrews 12:1&2 we read Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Let us do as these verses say. Lay aside those sins which are BIG hindrances in our race. Then run and run with patience or as Galatians 6:9 says don’t be weary in well doing for in due season we’ll reap if we faint not. Don’t get side tracked. Look to the end of the race, Jesus Christ the author and finisher of our faith. He wrote your biography, He knows the outcome. Some one once wrote: To lie down in the time of grief, to be quiet under the stroke of adverse fortune, implies a great strength; but I know of something that implies a strength greater still: it is the power to work under stress; to have a great weight at your heart and still run; to have a deep anguish in your spirit and still perform the daily tasks. It is a Christlike thing! The hardest thing is that most of us are called to exercise our patience, not in the sickbed but in the street.”
An artist went to visit a dear friend. When he arrived, she was weeping. He asked why. She showed him a handkerchief of exquisite beauty that had great sentimental value, which had been ruined by a drop of indelible ink. The artist asked her to let him have the handkerchief, which he returned to her by mail several days later. When she opened the package she could hardly believe her eyes. The artist, using the inkblot as a base, had drawn on the handkerchief a design of great beauty with Indian ink. Now it was more beautiful and more valuable than ever. Sometimes the tragedies that break our hearts can become the basis for a more beautiful design in our lives. Be patient with hurts over which you have no control. They may become a source of healing, help, and beauty.
I asked three ladies if they would be willing to share how the Lord has helped them to calmly endure trials that they are going through. I asked them to give a brief description of the trial or circumstance that they have had to calmly endure with the Lord’s help. I asked them to share specific Scriptures that helped them, answers to prayer, how the Lord has helped or is helping them to endure and any results in their own lives or lives of others as a result.
D. Morris shares:
I’m not sure “calmly endure” would describe how I’ve dealt with anything, but…..this past year with James losing his job was hard. Not having a place to call “home: hasn’t been easy. God made us women to be keepers of our home. Well, with no home, I felt kind of left out. Who was I? What do I do? It never occurred to me how hard it would be without my own “home”. God made me with a need for a nest. Doing without, hasn’t been as hard as, no home. But even as hard as this year has been, the eight years we struggled with infertility still ranks high on the list of “how did I ever make it through that” I lost five babies in miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies. If I didn’t have God to turn to I wouldn’t have made it.
D. M. says:
I’m glad God has given us His Word. But more than that He has given us wonderful books and devotionals from people who use His Scriptures to pull it all together and hone in on what we need at a certain time in our lives. Psalm 27:14 says “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” Sometimes I think God put the second wait, I say, on the Lord, in there for me. It should have an “Oh D., I’m talking to you”, inserted between heart and wait.
And Habakkuk 3:18 “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk has just finished saying in verse 17 “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:”….. . Things were really bad. BUT he was rejoicing in the God of his salvation. He wasn’t rejoicing over the trouble, but he could still rejoice in his God. I don’t have to be happy about being barren. But I need to rejoice in the God of my salvation.
I need to keep Romans 8:28 and 29 fresh in my thoughts, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” But don’t stop there. Don’t assume that God just likes doing “mean” things to me because it’s His purpose for my life. That makes God out to be rather mean. But knowing that He wants me to be like HIM is the reason for trials in my life. “For whom He did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” I remember that “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” verse 32. For me to remember that God loves me more than I could ever love Seth, helps me keep things in prospective. This also kind of answers, how has the Lord helped me or is helping me to calmly endure this trial?
Specific answers to prayer:
a. Someone just recently gave us $500.00 to help pay our school bill.
b. Food was given to us so we could pay our school bill with what we were using for groceries.
c. Food was given to us during Thanksgiving so that we could have our “adopted” students over and actually give them a Thanksgiving Feast.
d. Seth’s homeschooling material was paid for.
e. We need to get down to one car and we were able to buy a very very nice used car from where James works for a “Miracle” price.
f. I’ve not had a flare up of my lupus for this year.
g. I’ve asked God to help me love others more and give me more compassion for people. Going through this has helped me do that.
D. says she has seen results. Some good, some bad. I think I’m more tolerant of others’ problems. More understanding. Much more less likely to waste anything. I treasure what I have more than I did before.
On the bad side…..I’m harder on whiners. Don’t whine to me about being sick when you are pregnant. I’ll be the first to remind them, at least they are pregnant.
I think I also don’t expect things of people like I once did. I expected “Christians” to be more aware of my problems and ask me how I was. I expected them to “care” and show it. And there have been a few, but most “Christians” have a path they are on and don’t want to be swayed from that path. And that means they don’t want to be detoured to help someone in a time of distress. I didn’t realize how my day could be changed for the better by a simple. “ I’m praying for you.” “ I know you are struggling, is there anything I can do?” “I honestly don’t know how you feel, but if you need to talk, I would love to listen”. “Can I come over and pray with you?”
I had to realize that there’s nothing wrong with hurting and being sorrowful. We don’t have to be super women and wives, who never feel hurt. And sometimes that hurt shows on my face. I struggled a long time with feeling guilty because I was hurting. I thought, I’m a Christian”, I can’t show hurt and disappointment. People might think I’m not trusting in God. Then I realized, God made me a woman. A woman that feels great joy and great sadness. A woman with emotions. I just can’t let it control me. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes not. And sometimes I found, even though I have the most wonderful husband, the Lord was the only one who understood why I was crying and hurting at times. I just had to claim God’ promises. He would never leave me comfortless, He would come to me.
This year has forced me to watch people more. I don’t want to be someone who didn’t go and ask them if I can pray with them or give them a hug or listen. I don’t want anyone to ever be able to point at me and say, “She was too busy to bother with me.”
Here are two poems that I have read over and over and God has used to help me through tough days.
Child of My Love
Child of My Love, lean hard,
And let Me feel the pressure of thy care;
I know thy burden, child. I shaped it;
Poised it in Mine own hand; made no proportion
In its weight to thine unaided strength.
For even as I laid it on, I said
“I shall be near, and while she leans on Me,
This burden shall be Mine, not hers;
So shall I keep My child within the circling arms
Of mine own love.” Here lay it down, nor fear
To impose it on a shoulder which upholds
The government of worlds, Yet closer come;
Thou lovedest Me! I knew it. Doubt not then;
But loving Me, lean hard.
Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried; Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate, but the Master gently said, “Child, you must wait.”
“Wait, You say wait!” my indignant reply. “Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is Your hand shortened? Or have You not heard? By faith, I have asked, and am claiming Your Word.”
My future and all to which I can relate hangs in the balance,and you tell me Wait?
I’m needing a ‘yes’ a go-ahead sign, Or even a ‘no’ to which I’ll resign.”
And Lord, You promised that if we believe we need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I’ve been asking and this is my cry: I’m weary of asking I need a reply!”
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate. As my Master replied once again, “You must wait.”
So, I slumped in my chair, grieved in my gut, And grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting for what?”
He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes wept with mine, And He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign.
I could shake the Heavens and darken the sun. I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.”
“All you seek I could give and pleased you would be. You would have what you want, but you wouldn’t know me.
You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint; You’d not know the joy of resting in me when darkness and silence were all you could see.”
“you’d never experience that fullness of love As the peace of my Spirit descends like a dove;
You’d know that I live and I save for a start, but you’d not know the depth or the beat of my heart.”
“The glow of My comfort late into the night. The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked of an infinite God, who makes what you have last.”
“you’d never know, should your pain quickly flee, what it means that, ‘My grace is sufficient for Thee.’
Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true, But, oh the loss! If you lost what I’m doing in you!”
“So be silent, my child, and in time you will see that the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft may my answers seem terribly late, My most precious answer of all is still, ‘Wait!”
A trial that D. Smith recently faced and which most of you know about is the fact that four years ago this coming February, her daughter called to tell them that she had cervical cancer. She was very positive, stating “if you’re going to have cancer that’s the kind to have as you will get over that kind.” A complete hysterectomy followed and then 1 year later more cancer and slowly her tummy got larger and larger with tumors until she looked like she was seven months along. Now the Doctor said that “no chemo would have ever helped this type of cancer.” She never had any. Some specific scriptures that helped D. through this trial were John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd and know my sheep”, John 11:41 “Father I thank thee that thou has heard me-and I know that thou hearest me always.”, John 14:1-3 tells us that the Lord has already taken care of our future. And Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust, lean, acknowledge Him and He will direct.
God does answer prayer. D. prayed that her daughter would come through the surgery (her daughter made cookies for her pastor and wife and for her parents to have while she was in surgery) They prayed that the liquid would stop building up in her tummy as it was making her back hurt. They prayed that all eleven children would be saved. Praise the Lord – only an 8 year old to be saved. Before her daughter’s homegoing, D. stated that the Lord was helping her to calmly endure this trial because she knew that her daughter was ready to meet our Lord and Saviour and that He is preparing a place for her to be with Him. She says the prayers of many, many people had been felt time and time again.
Through this D. saw the power of prayer. The evening before her daughter went to heaven, D. prayed for the first time, “Lord, please take her home.” Early the next morning D. cried unto the Lord” Today, please take her home to heaven.” Within three hours of that prayer she was home. D. also prayed that the Lord would let her be with her when she died- How sweet, how precious! D. says.
Another result of this trial, D. says, is that the desire for material things is gone-she left it all! Through this D. also realizes how important for souls to be won so you will meet them again and He will say “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”
Another lady who I would like to use an example today is M. Rosenau. I have watched this lady’s consistent testimony for nearly two years as I have helped to care for her Mom. The trial she faces is caring for her 94 year old mother, seeing the roles of mother and child being reversed and trying to discern the line between honoring mother and being firm when necessary for her good. M. also faced the sudden homegoing of her older son last February.
Some verses that have helped her through her trials are Psalm 9:9
The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. , Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. II Cor. 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. And Psalm 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
Prayers were answered as the Lord showed M. things that her mother can do or can help with to occupy her time and to make her feel needed. He has calmed her mother and helped her to recall Scripture she has memorized and hymns she knows. He truly heals the broken hearted. M. says the Lord has helped her to calmly endure this trial as the words of the song come to mind:
He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater;
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.
To added affliction He addeth His mercy;
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.
When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary know unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!
She says the Lord has taught her to rely on Him more and more and to wait on Him for guidance and answers to problems.
The results from this trial are that she has learned in a greater way how necessary Christian friends are in caring, comforting and assisting one in times like this. Many have helped and many more have volunteered to help with mother.
She says as she read the cards and their enclosed notes received after John’s homegoing, her soul was soothed and comforted. Great peace came to her heart when she realized how many cared and were holding her up before the throne of God in prayer. Heaven seems even sweeter and nearer.
M. has been a great blessing to me. Never once have I seen her be unkind to her mother. She consistently gives and cares for her in the midst of her busy schedule and I really do see her calmly endure. When her son went home to be with the Lord I saw the grace of God uphold her. I came to care for her Mom as she was getting ready to go to the airport for his funeral. Once again the tables were turned as she was the encourager. The joy of the Lord was evident in her life. Even though she was busy and getting ready for this trip she had time to wait on me when I was supposed to be doing the waiting. She had fixed lunch and fed me and her mom before going out the door. What a blessing to see the grace of God at work in the lives of others.
These are all present examples. A past example is the story of a Godly woman named Rose Warmer. If you have never heard of her, she wrote her story called “The Journey.” It is a great book to have in your library. She was a Jew with lots of talent, yet no meaning to life. When she finally became saved, life took on new meaning. She became concerned for her own people and witnessed to as many Jews as she could. In her story you will see how she chose to be sent to the Nazi concentration camps so she could minister to her beloved people. She went through unbelievable agony, slavery, and torture. God answered many prayers for her by allowing her to witness to her people during this time. God brought many scriptures to her mind as she endured this trial as she did not have a Bible in the camps. Later God answered prayer by giving her a Bible and giving it to her through those that hated her. With the whole Bible she was able to be a better witness to the Jews. In the midst of all the slavery, agony, and torture, she was thankful. She had given up all to follow Christ so she had lost nothing. She had love for those who hated her, and peace in her heart because she knew she was in the center of God’s will. She did not long for escape or home as others did. As she labored in the camps under impossible conditions, she told herself again and again that she was doing her labor as unto the Lord. This woman truly exhibited calm endurance. It’s utterly amazing that anyone could survive such hellish conditions, but to survive with the Christlike character and attitude that she had is even more amazing. I have read her book through twice and have often referred to it. Often, when I have a tendency to complain or feel sorry for myself, I think of Rose Warmer, and can only ask God’s forgiveness for my complaining and murmuring. I have so much to be thankful for!
We could list many Biblical examples of patience, but one of my favorite is the story of Joseph. I never tire of reading this story. It is very emotional and makes me cry every time. But you talk about calm endurance, patience, waiting, Joseph did it all for many years. In each circumstance you never hear about him complaining or giving up his faith in God. Each time, he just trusted, waited, and went on doing his labor as unto the Lord. As a result he found favor with God and man. Several times we read that the Lord was with him and made everything he did to prosper. Would that have been the case if Joseph had complained and not been willing to trust and wait on the Lord? Joseph did not know what God was doing or why He was doing it. But he obviously looked to Jesus his author and finisher. You all know the end of the story. What a blessing to be reconciled to his brothers, to see his father again and to know that God had matured him into this godly man and used him to preserve life! Now think what the result may have been if he had not calmly endured or exhibited godly patience!
Here’s a humorous little poem with a lot of truth to it:
There once was an oyster whose story I tell,
Who found that sand had got under his shell,
Just one little grain, but it gave him much pain,
For oysters have feelings although they’re so plain.
Now, did he berate the working of Fate,
Which had led him to such a deplorable state?
Did he curse out the government, call for an election?
No, as he lay on the shelf he said to himself
“If I cannot remove it, I’ll try to improve it.”
So the years rolled by as the years always do,
And he came to his ultimate destiny-stew.
And this small grain of sand which had bothered him so,
Was a beautiful pearl, all richly aglow.
Now this tale has a moral-for isn’t it grand
What an oyster can do with a morsel of sand;
What couldn’t we do if we’d only begin
With all of the things that get under our skin.
Of course our ultimate example of calm endurance and patience is Jesus Christ, Himself. Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. ( Hebrews 12:2,3) Can we consider Jesus today? Isn’t He our prime example of calm endurance? Can’t we be patient and calm under our trials knowing all that He did for us? Will you allow Him to be the Potter and mold you into the perfect and entire Christian so that you become fully developed in all the attributes of God? Can we not say as it says in Isa 64:8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. Can we not sing with the hymn writer:
Have Thine Own way , Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay:
Mould me and make me after they will,
while I am waiting, Yielded and still.
Have Thine Own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’re my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit Till all shall see
Christ only, always, Living in me!
Can we not also say with this songwriter:
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life’s trial will seem so small when we see Christ
One glimpse of His dear face
All sorrow will erase
So bravely run the race
Till we see Christ!