What is “patience”? To one, “Patience is something you admire greatly in the driver behind you but not in the one ahead of you.” To another, “Patience is idling my inner motor when I feel like stripping the gears.” Webster calls patience: “the ability to wait or endure without complaint.” To the word “patient” he adds, “bearing or enduring pain, trouble, etc. without complaining or losing self-control…able to wait calmly for something desired.” No wonder Jesus is stressing the importance of patience to his followers. He drops those seven words of today’s text in the middle of his warnings of great sufferings they would – and we will – face. Wars to the end of time, false Messiahs, earthquakes, famines, dreadful diseases, betrayal by those most trusted, and being hated for the sake of Christ. Only patience to trust His powerful presence and promise would carry them to the end. They would long for Him to reach out to them and lift them out of the world, but He would leave them in the world to reach out to others and lift them to Jesus. They were to endure all – patiently!
So it is with you and me. We will face our share of problems that loom like mountains, perplexities that tempt us to think Jesus has abandoned us, and persecutions that always follow those who live godly. Those are all the spiritual components – called “tribulation” – that God uses to develop patience in His saints. Job learned patience in his sufferings, David in his long-waiting between promise given and promise fulfilled regarding the throne, Paul in his unending persecutions, etc. So begin now, when life offers up to you small and large tribulations, to offer up praise to Your Sovereign Lord who is allowing it in order to conform you to His Son and to create within you His faith that overcomes the world. Sufferings won’t last forever. Our souls will!