Summary: Good things may come to those who wait, but the best things come when we wait with patience on God.
Amen! Pass the Ham!
2 Peter 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
James 5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
Hebrews 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
Patience is not the strong suit for many. We Americans want everything and we want it right now. We love our microwaves. Indeed, we want God to give us instant blessings. We put our prayers into the blessing toaster barely able to wait for the pop up.
My family was not really religious. My Mom’s parents were the only ones that might have been saved at the time. Pappy had been called the preacher at work, but some things happened in the family that made him step down from that bold witness. Still when we met at their house for Thanksgiving we said grace. One year Pappy must have been a tad long winded and a cousin was really hungry. Thus it was Amen pass the ham. Not even a full breath between the Amen and my cousin’s plea.
In the passages above there are two Greek words for patience used. One indicates a glad enduring maybe like when a child knows that his Dad is bringing him a gift or taking him somewhere after work. The other is more like an endurance you have to deal with that may be like the endurance or a soldier. It is also translated longsuffering like the longsuffering of God with the sins of man. A child waiting for Dad to come home to punish him endures the wait, but not with joy. He can be patient if Dad is caught in traffic and late getting home. In that instance he is the most patient person on the planet.
We are commanded to develop patience as that is a virtue clearly seen in each person of the Trinity. To develop patience we need to have situations where patience is needed and those only come by tribulation or trouble and time. Crops are not harvested three minutes after the seed is planted. Pests, droughts, floods and other things can trouble the crops. A farmer who does not work and endure in his farming never has a harvest.
Every person who spoke for God in the Word had trouble. Many to the point of death. We do not think about it but even a blessing toaster would have heat. If the blessing came too soon it would not be fully activated and prepared. Left too long it would be too late to give us want we need and burnt. God has a better process than a toaster. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it.
Need is a key word. Too often we get in tizzy about things we want and God only promised needs. Most of our wants would get us into trouble or make us spoiled brats. When God does not answer those prayers we get mad at Him when He cannot be a good, good Father and give us that mess we throw a tantrum over.
Need financial help? Don’t say Amen where’s the money? Need a mate? Don’t say Amen where are they? Need marital help? Don’t say Amen is my spouse fixed? You add the item as you get the drift. The only thing that you can expect an instant answer is when a person repents and asks Christ to save them. That is instant. It is not Amen when is it done? It is Amen it is finished.
Ministry workers don’t say Amen where’s the fruit? Indeed, God in His wisdom chose an agricultural illustration for our ministry. We keep planting, weeding, watering and God gives the increase. How long before you can put the harvest on the table depends on what you are growing. If you are breaking up fallow ground it will take longer to prepare the soil for planting and will stretch out the time for a harvest.
Three thousand souls at Pentecost came because of the people’s knowledge of the Law, the things they saw or heard about Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. It was a sudden harvest, but much had been planted and watered. Paul had to break up fallow ground among the Gentiles. There were many rocks and weeds of false philosophies and theologies as we have today. They did not have same well plowed field as the Jews. Indeed, God was gracious and some believed nearly every time he preached, but those still had to grow. In both situation there were seeds that did not sprout because of the devil or bad ground.