Ever watch those spy movies where the hero gets caught and is put in an interrogation room, usually dark and damp, with the spotlight shining directly into his eyes? The muscle proceeds to rough him up and try to beat information from him as the evil bosses from “X” (insert cheesy bad guy name here) watch from behind the one-way glass. The agent is about to either crack under the torture or die first when his fearless partner and the rescue party shows up to save the day. The one thing that the evildoers had that aided them in their extraction process was patience.
As a former detective, I’ve been through several interviews and interrogations classes that teach just that (no, not how to beat an admission from someone :)). A successful detective is a patient one. A successful street cop is a patient one. A successful husband or wife is a patient one. A successful child of God is a patient one. Get the picture? Patience plays a big part in your relationship and walk with Christ and, subsequently, your relationship with those around you.
I’ve had several colleagues ask how I am able to obtain an admission from my suspect during an interview. I tell them that it’s simply a matter of patience. You have to be able to out-think and outlast your adversary. And it’s not an easy thing to do. My wife, bless her heart, has very little patience…probably her combination of ADHD and OCD (one of the many reasons I love her :D). In contrast, patience is one of my greatest blessings. Here’s what James has to say about it…
“Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.
Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For the Judge is standing at the door!
For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.”- James 5:7-11
“Pray without ceasing,” it says somewhere in the Bible. In one of my previous posts I wrote about God’s time not being Eastern Standard Time. It’s a lesson in patience. If we’re faithful to God in all we do, our professional life, our personal life, our private life, that patience will be rewarded. It can’t be idle patience, however. You can’t simply pray for something then sit back and wait for it to happen. Here’s the study guide’s lesson…
“The farmer must wait patiently for his crops to grow; he cannot hurry the process. But he does not take the summer off and hope that all goes well in the fields. There is much work to do for Christ’s return. We cannot make Him come back any sooner. But while we wait, there is much work that we can do to advance God’s kingdom. Both the farmer and the Christian must live by faith, looking toward the future reward for their labors. Don’t live as if Christ will never come. Work faithfully to build His kingdom. The King will come when the time is right.”
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: just because things don’t get better immediately after praying for them to, doesn’t mean that your prayers have fallen on deaf ears. Just because you don’t immediately get a new job after praying for one, doesn’t mean that a new one isn’t just over the horizon. Just because you don’t start making enough money to pay your bills on time versus a few weeks to a month late, doesn’t mean that the ability to catch things up isn’t right around the corner. Just because that cold doesn’t go away, or the arthritis pain doesn’t abate, or time off doesn’t materialize…doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want to grant your prayers or bless you beyond measure. It just means that you have to keep your faith strong and continue to pray…period.
Here’s the thing…when you learn patience in being faithful and communicating with your Heavenly Father, that patience transfers to your life around you. All of a sudden, you aren’t so quick to have a harsh word for someone who wrongs you. You don’t snap at your wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend for something they said that gets under your skin. As you develop a spirit of patience, you become a lot more positive when faced with life’s little difficulties. And in the grand scheme of things, they are little. Remember, there’s ALWAYS someone else with a heavier cross to bear than yours.
I’ll leave you with this little bit of alliteration until next time…pray for patience so that the peace that overcomes you leaves you prosperous in your faith and your blessings plentiful :D.