Be Strong, Be Well — Friday, July 23, 2021
We cannot begin to imagine what it was like to be the Jews in Babylonian captivity. They were dealing with their guilt. They must have been thinking, “The reason we are here is that we messed up badly.” No doubt they were able to adjust to their poor living conditions. Life does go on. But as the years passed by, no doubt they were wondering if God would ever rescue them.
Jeremiah had some good news. “For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:10–13).
One of the takeaways from this is patience. Seventy years is a long time. We grow impatient when someone doesn’t answer their phone! If we lack anything, we lack patience. But the question arises, how do we increase in patience?
James tells us, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (1:2–4). That isn’t what we want to hear, but it is the necessary truth.
We face many trials in this life. We all wonder how long this craziness will go on in our country. Those in high places are promoting immoral behavior, and it’s growing all around us. How long will it be before God does something about it? Patience!
“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14). “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him…” (Psalm 37:7).
Trials vary from person to person. We may have health concerns or frustrating relationships with family or co-workers. From time to time, we may struggle with bills or finances. These things fall in our lap sometimes. James said these are the things that teach us patience.
Years ago, we knew a man who retired comfortably and moved to Florida. He drew on his pension for a few years. Then the tragic news came that his company went under, and all his pension funds were lost. It was devastating, but he survived. He was a great example of patience.
Strong Expository Dictionary defines patience as “the temper which does not easily succumb under suffering.” Synonyms are endurance, constancy, steadfastness, and perseverance.
Patience is only used a few dozen times in scripture. But oh, how we need to read those verses often.
”Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer” (Romans 12:12).
“...walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy” (Colossians 1:10, 11).
Patience does not appear in Galatians 6:9, but the principle is there. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” —Chris