Patience is one of my weakest traits. No matter how hard I try, I usually find myself in a hurry to get to somewhere. Slowing down and forced to travel at someone else’ pace isn’t my style. If patience is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22, bearing patiently with suffering takes an added degree of faith. This is one of many areas where I still have a long way to go and mature spiritually.
[After all] what [f]kind of glory [is there in it] if, when you do wrong and are punished for it, you take it patiently? But if you bear patiently with suffering [which results] when you do right and that is undeserved, it is acceptable and pleasing to God, 1 Peter 2:20.
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis states that success is the process of arriving. Before you achieve any dream or goal in life, failure is one of many obstacles that you will have to endure. As you continue on the journey called life, you will be embarrassed, humiliated, and filled with disappointment on a weekly basis. Yet, if you keep the faith and bear patiently with suffering, God has called Christians to be faithful, not successful.
Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God. 3 Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. 4 And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of [c]character (approved faith and [d]tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] [e]joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation, Romans 5:2-4.
In the passage above, the apostle Paul is essentially saying, “keep your eyes on the prize.” Like the words of Jesus’ earthly brother in James 1:2-4, your spiritual journey is never ending. Whenever you taste the agony of defeat, it’s by God’s grace that you can get right back up and stand again. If you can develop the mindset that every affliction, hardship, and trial is an opportunity for spiritual growth, it won’t be long before you too will be able to bear patiently with suffering.
by Jay Mankus