The Virtue of Patience

I have been studying a lot through Jeremiah lately and seems that the common theme running through (other than the Isrealites constantly going back and forth between worshiping God or themselves) is the idea of trusting in God’s promise. There are several times throughout the book, and really throughout the whole Bible, where God is telling His people that He will deliver them or that He will reward them……all they have to do is wait. In chapter 25 God straight up tells them through Jeremiah that He will deliver them from the enslavement of the Babylonians, the only catch is that they have to wait for 70 years! Can you imagine what it must have felt like in that moment to be told by God Himself that He wanted you to go through 70 years of suffering and captivity before He would rescue you?!?!?! I think these people really came to learn what trust and patience are all about! There are even instances in the Bible where God promises something to a man, such as Abraham, but the fruits of that promise are not sown until long after that person has died.  What would you say if God spoke to you and asked you to give up your entire life to do something for Him, but that you would never be able to experience the results of your life’s work?

I started to think about how much this still relates to us today. Maybe God is not promising to make a nation out of us, nor asking us to give up everything we know in search of some crazy purpose He has; but I believe that there are many things both big and small that God is promising us each day of our lives. All He asks is that we trust Him and wait. This is something that has become so hard in practice for western civilization, especially in the United States. From the microwave to on-demand movies, we can pretty much get anything we want when we want it; we truly are a society that lives for the “now”. I think it is safe to say that most of us would have trouble waiting even a week for God to come through on His promises……let alone 70 years!!! This is something that we have struggled through a bit here at The City Community Church. We planted our church in downtown Austin almost 3 years ago knowing and believing in God’s promise and purpose to use this city to greatly further His kingdom! But starting a church in the heart of a fairly Godless city is no easy task, and one that surely does not come with instant results. We have experienced our ups and downs and we have seen God do some amazing things in the lives of the people we have encountered, but it truly is a sobering reality to come to know and trust that God’s purpose for us here might not fully unravel in the foreseeable future. In fact, its possible that the true fruit of what He has brought us here to do might not come until after we have moved on from this world. And the beauty of it all is seen when we can come to a place where we understand and are okay with that possibility. When we realize that it is not about us or what we can accomplish or do in our lifetime, but it is about the great story that God is weaving throughout all of time by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is then that we can live out what He has purposed for our lives and trust in what He has promised.

It is so easy to get discouraged as we get caught up in what the world tells us we need, and when we need it. But if there is anything I would want all of us to know from this, it is that you are loved by a God who planned out your existence  before the beginning of time, and who has purposed your life for something special. He may ask you to wait for some of the things He has promised you, and He may ask you to go through times of hardship and maybe even suffering before you get there. But it is in all of His infinite wisdom and loving goodness that He has made you to be something special in this story of life! Sometimes when I need to be reminded of this, I like to read Psalm 37. It talks all about waiting for the Lord and trusting in His promises; I hope it brings you the same encouragement it has for me over the years!

Read Psalm 37 here:

http://www.esvbible.org/Psalm+37

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