The Posture of Patience
Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” (James 5:7 NIV)
There was a time in my family when it had come to my mother’s attention her children suffered from a terrible problem. The problem was one my mother feared would bring negative attention to us and shame upon the family. This problem was so concerning to her, she decided she would help us see things another way. Mom then dedicated many hours each week to see to it we rectify the agonizing defect that was sure to impact the way people viewed us, the way we viewed ourselves. In fact, mom was convinced this problem would eventually wear its horrific ways into the very fabric of our thinking and manifest itself in certain doom.
This terrible defect was our posture. Yes! Much to mother’s horror she had discovered her children had bad posture. We slumped too much for Momma Polly and she was not having it. She had researched the problem thoroughly, conferred with some of the medical specialists at the hospital she worked at as a registered nurse and had the science to back her inkling. One Saturday afternoon after our chores were done, she sat the five of us down and explained how bad posture would manifest itself as a lack of confidence, poor parenting, and long-term health issues. Lord!
Our lessons began. First, Mom gave examples of correct posture by her impeccable demonstration. Then, we began daily practice of our walk before her watchful eye with several books (hardcover books as I recall) on our heads while walking a straight line. Last, we were tested to see if our posture had improved. If we didn’t keep our necks erect, shoulders rolled back, and the books weren’t perfectly balanced, then we’d have to begin again. This process had to be repeated until we were successful in maintaining consistent erect posture. This entire process entailed the following: 1) An example 2) Patience & Practice 3) A test.
God, like my mother, wants His children to maintain good posture. God isn’t looking at the posture our bodies but the posture of our hearts. This is especially the case when it comes to our demonstration of patience. The bottom line is—developing patience is about positioning for a purpose.
How do we develop the posture of patience?
We observe examples and demonstrations of patience in the bible. Jesus warned us we would be persecuted, and He told us how we should handle it: By your patience possess your souls (Luke 21:19 NKJV).
We practice patience. God watches to see if we can behave as Christians when things are going well, as well as in times of trial. He knows our patience is tried when we are stressed, tried, or persecuted.
Our patience needs testing. We have our part to play in the gift that God is going to be giving us. The apostle James wrote something similar about profiting from trials: 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 (James 1:2-4 NKJV). We can see patience is an important virtue for a Christian to develop. James wasn’t just talking about our ability to bear hardships. He was talking about our ability to turn trials, suffering, and frustrations into opportunities to witness for the glory of God. It’s the way we handle tests of character. If we handle these tests righteously, it will produce steadfast faithfulness. God wants his children to be patient and faithful people in His Kingdom.
Dear God, help me to maintain a posture of patience. Allow me to work through my frustrations, trials and disappointments in a way that brings honor to You. Forgive me when I fail and help me to handle the tests when they come my way. Amen
We’d love to hear from you! Your turn:
- Can you recall a situation in your life that demonstrated God’s patience with you?
- Describe a time when you needed to demonstrate patience while waiting for God to move. Explain how you felt during this time.