“Be patient in trouble”
The last thing we want to hear while going through a difficult situation is to be patient. I am the last person to be writing about patience as my natural tendency is to challenge, resist what I do not like, and search for a strategic solution to change the situation quickly.
Patience comes in at number two in a list of three actions, Christ-followers are encouraged to take, found in verse 12 of Roman’s chapter 12, “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying” (NLT).
The Greek word for patience is “hypomeno” which means to linger behind, stay, not withdraw or flee, endure, or persevere.
Patience is not running from the situation, but staying in it. The fight or flight instinct surfaces and many of us tip to the flight side. We look for ways to avoid or go around.
Paul challenges us to stay. This type of stay is not a general every day patiently waiting. Paul is specific to being patient in times of trouble. Hypomeno is translated more often as endure.
Endure seems harsh, but it’s a strength-based type of enduring, which goes along with working out. Instead of giving up at 10 minutes into the exercise routine, push through until the end, persevere. It is patient endurance.
In my difficult season where verse twelve was my battle cry, I realized how God had given me the message of patient endurance for several months and here it was again. It was almost humorous each time another verse would come across my path matching these two words together or one translation would use patience while another used endurance.
“Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised,” Hebrews 10:36, NLT.
The Amplified Version of this verse in Hebrews refers to patience as “to bear up under difficult circumstances without compromising.” This type of patience isn’t a result coming at the end, but is intentional, a plan of attack, a dial set and locked in.
Patient endurance is more than staying for a few more minutes, but we stay longer when the time has passed. Patient endurance gets out of bed each morning, places its’ feet on the floor, and takes the first step, then it takes the next step, and then the next. It may be slow, it may not feel like much, but patient endurance is movement.
During my season of persistent determination, God gave me an image to envision, which I relied on to help me when I needed to take one more step.
“For I hold you by your right hand – I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you’” (Isaiah 41:13, NLT).
Mashing the verses from Romans and Isaiah together, I repeated to myself, “God is holding my hand and He is helping me walk patiently through this.” I could see a little girl gripping the hand of her mother, a time where she did not want to run or pull away because of the insecurity she felt. The daughter found her heart was relieved to sense the firmness of her mother’s hand fastened around hers.
Patient endurance is what we need, and patient endurance is what God will give us when we put our hope in Him, the anchor of our soul, allowing Him to take our hand and lead us one step at a time.
Unlike in a workout scenario where we may feel out of shape and unable to make it to the end, being patient in distressing times requires a resolve not based on our ability. Being patient when someone cuts you off in traffic can be challenging, but staying through, sticking with, and walking through troubling times until we are on the other side needs the help of God.
Patience involves endurance and enduring includes having hope. In part 1 of this three-part blog, we learned we have a confident Hope. When we place our hope in Christ, we unleash the Spirit to work out in us characteristics that supersede our human abilities.
Bearing patience can be wearisome when the sun rises on another day and there appears to be no change. We buckle down and allow God to take our hand to walk us through the minutes and hours ahead.
Patience does not divulge itself in one day, but days heaped upon days, weeks upon weeks, even years upon years, and it reflects our trust in God.
Action two teaches us we can walk through it because God will give us patient endurance.
It is my prayer that while you hold tightly to your heavenly Father’s hand, you will sense how tightly He is holding on to yours, and you will take courage to move through another day.
Meditation: God is holding my hand and I will patiently endure.
Reflect: On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest, how would you score yourself in being patient with your current situation? Where are you trying to do things on your sufficiency rather than relying on God to strengthen you and lead you through? How does your Hope in Christ correlate to your ability to be patient?
Digging Deeper: Colossians 1: 9-14; Hebrews 10: 35-39; Hebrews 12: 1-3
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(Bible References: NRSV – New Revised Standard Version, NIV – New International Version, CEV – Contemporary English Version)