Standing firm in the middle of trials and tests can take herculean strength on our part. For just standing firm and not surrendering to the circumstances can take every bit of our patience and perseverance. That’s when standing firm I think takes on a active connotation…you may not be moving forward…but you’re sure as not falling back. Standing firm then means endurance, long-suffering, and self-control.
God has the power to punish mankind…yet He refrains from doing so. Romans 2:4 tells us it’s the riches of His kindness, tolerance, and patience that stops Him from giving us what we deserve…quite simply, Hell and eternal separation from Him. His mercy and long-suffering are blessings we need to consider and seriously think about then, for God’s patience can last only so long…and sooner or later His judgement will come.
Psalm 40:1 says, “I wait patently for the Lord.” Exodus 14:14 tells us, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” In these verses in Lamentations the author, Jeremiah, wants to stress not only the need to wait patiently for the Lord in confident hopefulness…but to wait quietly, marked by little activity to attempt to fix things on our part. (In other words, not trying to “help God.”) To do both simultaneously and to do them well is a real test of our trust in Him.
God’s gracious gift of salvation is for everyone…for He wants all to be saved.( I Timothy 2:4) But we shouldn’t take His slowness in judgement as a sign of weakness, indecision, or wavering…but rather as long-suffering. For it’s only by God’s kindness, tolerance, and patience is He willing to give all of us the time to change our minds and repent.
I have this Scripture on a beautiful plaque in my bathroom. And as I was getting ready this morning, I glanced up and there it was…like a beacon of truth, light, and hope. It was a wonderful reminder that I don’t have to do this thing called life all by myself. In I Timothy 1:12 it says that the Lord stands by my side and gives me strength…strength in all situations. This strength He gives me is much more than just bearing and suffering through a trial. The strength God gives, enables me to effectively handle with grace and patience all things that come into my life. For it’s only through Him, I can cope with all things for His glory.
The only way you can become really good at something is to practice…whether it’s a sport, a musical instrument, or a newly discovered talent, without practice, it’s just wishful thinking. Today, this Scripture wants us to take a new and different attitude when faced with the trials in our lives. It wants us to consider trials as practice. Every time we’re put to the test, we need to realized it’s a God-ordained crucible in which we are being purified. In other words, trials equal refining…trials equal developing patience…trials equal suffering in the faith…trials are a chance to practice what we preach.
God is not hesitating out of uncertainty…it’s not from indecision either that He has held off judging the world. No, it’s because of the Lord’s long-suffering grace and mercy that He delays the Judgment Day. For in I Timothy 2:4 it tells us, “God our Savior, Who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” Our Lord wants no one to perish, but all to come to the saving reality of Jesus Christ…but neither will God wait forever.
As we grow in our Christian faith, things that tempted us early on no longer entice us… for we have grown in wisdom and godliness. So when you see a new Christian struggling, remember where you were as a baby Christian, and as I Thess. 5:14 says, “Help the weak, be patient with everyone.” God brought them to you to encourage not to condemn.
Patience is to sustain calmly, when all we really want to do is not wait! The Lord plants a vision in our heart, we know it’s out there, but the key is timing. Self control and endurance enables us to wait for God’s timing…for His timing is always perfect. It’s never too early, never too late…always at the appointed time.