Real Life: Patience
“…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:2
The Christian life was birthed in the fires of suffering. Jesus suffered on the Cross to make salvation possible for every human being. The Bible says that He endured the Cross: “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5. As a human being, Jesus suffered excruciating pain. How did He endure such agony? The same way we can endure unimaginable pain, both physically and emotionally. Jesus was on the Cross for six hours, and He was beaten and verbally abused before the first nail pierced His flesh.
The same patience it took for Him to carry my sin into the wrath of God, to suffer for three long hours alone, utterly alone, is the same patience available to me when I am in pain. The patience of God is more than able to sustain me in any kind of suffering, no matter how excruciating, no matter how deep, no matter for how long. There was no relief for Jesus on the Cross. He could not escape it or numb it. He bore my wrath, pain, and eternal loneliness so that no matter what happens to me on earth, I will never be alone, and I will always have His strength. What a gift He has given us in His Spirit.
The apostle Paul is an example of patience in trials. God allowed him to suffer a thorn in his flesh because of the great revelations he was given. God didn’t take the thorn away, instead He poured grace into Paul’s life and developed his character. God fashioned Paul to accomplish a purpose and He allowed nothing to impede that purpose. At the end of his life, Paul could say: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7 He finished the assignment God gave him at great cost to himself. He could not have borne the thorn without God’s grace holding him. That same grace is available to all His children. God says it is enough no matter what I am going through.
It is costly to be a true believer, to live the real life. I’m ready to pay it. Are you?
“I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:8,9