Patience in the Face of Suffering

Patience in the Face of Suffering

Psalms 37:7-8 “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret it leads only to evil.” What is patience? It can be difficult for us to be patient especially when you are experiencing suffering. “Patience is a calm endurance based on the certain knowledge that God is in control.” Longsuffering is that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate; it is the opposite of anger, and is associated with mercy. It is the quality that does not surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial; it is the opposite of despondency and is associated with hope. {{more}}What tests your patience? Bible teachers who talk too long. Long lines at the grocery store. Working with computers. Telemarketers at 5:00 P.M. What does the Bible teach about patience ? 1st Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is patient.” Proverbs 14:29 says, “A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.” Amen!For years William Wilberforce pushed the Britain’s Parliament to abolish slavery. Discouraged, he was about to give up. His elderly friend, John Wesley, heard of it and from his deathbed called for pen and paper. With trembling hand, Wesley wrote: “Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you would have been worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them stronger than God? “Oh be not weary of well-doing! Go on, in the name of God and in the power of his might, till even American slavery shall vanish away before it.” Wesley died six days later, but Wilberforce fought for forty-five more years and in 1833 he saw slavery abolished in Britain. Three days later he died. What if he would have given up?   Some people give excuses for lack of patience. I am .  God made me this way I am impatient by birth. James encourages us to be patient. The farmer does it all the time. Consider the farmer. He has no control over the weather. He waits a long time for results and he works hard while waiting. Here are some instructions on being patient in the face of suffering. Do not grumble. Grudge not, murmur not. A groan is a half-suppressed murmur of impatience not uttered aloud. The opposite of patience is complaining. What emotions do you feel when you are complaining? Frustration, discouragement and resentment usually result in anger.What can you do when you are angry and want to complain? First think about whether is this really worth getting angry about? Will it cause more problems than it solves? Control your anger you have a choice. You can recognize it, admit it, and express it properly. Direct your anger at a thing not a person. Do not say “You make me angry!” Amen!How can you be more patient? Remember how patient God was and is with you. Remember to make allowances for each other. Patience is an act of worship. Please remember that nothing has come into your life that God has not allowed and do not be discouraged because perseverance pays off. Amen!Here is a short story that I read years ago. When this figure in history was seven years old, his family was forced out of their home on a legal technicality, and he had to work to help support them. At age nine, his mother died. At 22, he lost his job as a store clerk. He wanted to go to law school, but his education was not good enough. At 23, he went into debt to become a partner in a store. At 26, his business partner died, leaving him a huge debt that took years to repay. At 28, after courting a girl for four years, he asked her to marry him. She said no. At 41, his four-year-old son died. At 45, he ran for the Senate and lost. At 47, he ran for vice-president and lost.At 49, he ran for the Senate again, and lost. And at 51, he was elected president of the United States. His name was Abraham Lincoln. Where would our country be today if he would have given up? Where will others be tomorrow if you give up?How can a believer be condemned since we are forgiven? It means that you may be found to be at fault before God. James refers to Matthew 7:1 “Judge not lest you be judged. “ To “grumble against one another” is virtually to judge, and so to become liable to be judged. Amen!   How has God used suffering in your life? How do you keep from getting discouraged in suffering? Is it unfair that you should suffer while others do not? The prophets were tortured, mocked, scourged, in chains, in prison, stoned, sawn in two, tempted, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated, and put to death. Suffering can bring a blessing. God gave the most honors to those most afflicted. Those who were the greatest examples of suffering were the greatest examples of patience. James 1:3-4 says, “Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” They did not give up in spite of suffering. Amen!In 1955, Winston Churchill, was near the end of his life, gave the commencement address of a university in Britain. Mr. Churchill was so weak at the time that he had to be helped to the podium. Once he was at the podium, he stood with both of his hands clinging to the podium and his head down for what seemed like an eternity. Finally he lifted his head, and the voice that, years before had called Britain back from the brink of destruction spoke publicly for the last time. Though he only spoke nine words, they were possibly the most powerful words he ever spoke. “Never give up. Never Give up. Never give up.” Amen!You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. Here are some examples of Job’s patience while he lost possessions. He lost his children and lost his health. He was harassed by his wife and taunted by his friends. Yet, he never cursed God. He questioned, struggled, and wished he had died. Job persevered and so can you. God does great work under pressure. Are you having difficulty persevering in the face of suffering? Are you saying “I cannot take this any longer.”? Remember God is in control. He knows your situation and has allowed it. Worship Him in patience. Keep your focus on the eternal. Be encouraged because there is a reward. Now you know why you have to have patience in the face of suffering. Amen!