“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
The word “patient” in this verse is the Greek word hypomeno. It is a verb that means, “to remain; not recede or flee; to persevere; under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ; to endure, bear bravely and calmly ill treatments.” Jesus told His followers, “In this life you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Trouble, or affliction, is a given. We live in a fallen world filled with fallen sinners, including us.
Let’s just be honest and get it out on the table that it is HARD to be patient in affliction, isn’t it? When Christ saves us, we don’t automatically become infinitely patient. We do, however, instantly receive the power of the Holy Spirit to be patient – but we still must choose. With every circumstance, we have a choice. Will we react according to our natural, sinful desires? Or will we yield control to His Spirit living in us and choose patience? One choice relies on self, the other denies self. One choice is easy, the other is hard. I’m sure you can guess which is which.
I recently read this quote:
“A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.” – Henri J.M. Nouwen
No offense to Mr. Nouwen, but I think he should have said, “…in the belief that Someone hidden there will manifest Himself to us.” God is present in every situation we face, even though He may not always be readily visible. He hides in the storms and trials, waiting to see if we trust Him enough to endure patiently all that He uses to shape and grow us into the image of His Son.
Affliction isn’t a sign of God’s anger in the lives of His children, but rather of His grace. Without affliction, we would not know His peace. Without want, we would not know His satisfaction. Without need, we would not recognize His provision. And without testing, our faith would not grow. We need only be patient, believing that He will manifest His presence to us in all things.
Father, it is so hard to wait for You to move when I’m facing hard circumstances or suffering. Give me the strength to be patient so that others will see that You are faithful in all things and at all times. In Jesus’ name, amen.