I was studying Paul’s letter to Titus the other morning when the “P” word came up once again. It seems that I am forever dealing with the “P” word and, more often than not, coming up short of the message it shouts in my ear. A word that seems to challenge us all from time-to-time … Patience!
Titus 2:1-2 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;
In our youth we want things done “now,” we want time to hurry up, but as we age we want time to slow down as the years seem to fly by and we slowly begin to realize that we must learn to wait. Patience is one of God’s qualities that seems to only come with our spiritual maturity. As used here the Greek word is hupomone, which means “patient endurance;” patience that grows under trial.
It’s interesting that the first time hupomone is used in the New Testament is in the story of the parable of the sower (Luke 8:15), which repeatedly reminds us that God cannot be hurried. It takes time for the seasons of our life to come and go, like for a plant to bud, blossom and bear fruit.
As I’ve grown older I have slowly learned to be more patient as a result of learning that God’s most frequent answer to prayer is not yes or no but “wait.” All we need to do to understand the truth contained in that is to go back and read the Book of Job, which God included in the Bible to teach us to wait patiently for Him to speak and act. But so often we don’t!
Consider Abraham’s impatience (Gen 16) that brought Ishmael into the world and reflect on all the trouble that has brought that continues in 2018 and will until Jesus returns. How about Saul, whose impatience cost him his kingdom (1 Sam 13). But David, on the other hand, after learning patience through suffering, refused to take matters into his own hands and waited for God to give him the kingdom he was promised. There is great wisdom there for us.
James 1:2-3 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
Luke 21:19 By your patience possess your souls.
It’s encouraging when we meet those more mature members of the bride who have learned patience, reminding us the truth that not only is patience a virtue, it’s proper for sound doctrine!