The Value Of Persistent Patience



Jesus Did It!



By: Norm Rasmussen

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Has your faith been painfully tested lately?  God leads people to this Precious Testimonies outreach regularly whose faith is being greatly tried.  We believe part of why God has called us to this ministry is to help people going through painful trials to keep a proper, eternal perspective on what is happening to them.  We thank each of you who have contributed in some way for helping us to help others in this journey of faith each of us is on.


Having our faith tested is not something that takes heaven by surprise, by the way.  Heaven keeps filling with fresh souls daily who has passed from this life to the next ' anticipating the 'heavenly city' God's Word promises is awaiting for those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ and God's Word to be pleasing to Him. 


By earth's way of measuring distances, that 'heavenly city' might stretch across vast galaxies.  To those who have yet to arrive there, size makes no difference, does it?  'Just let me get there!' is the cry of our lips ' especially for those who may be going through a severe trial in their life.  


God addresses a very important revelation He wants us to get a handle on in this journey of faith each of us is on.  In listing a few of the 'Old Testament hero's of the faith' in Hebrews Chapter 11, let's zero in on one of the most well known couples: Abraham and Sarah.  Starting with Hebrews 11:8-16, let's refresh ourselves in what God has for us to mediate on:


By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would afterward receive as an inheritance.  And he went out, not knowing where he was going.


By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.


By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.


Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude ' innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. 


These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 


For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.  And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 


But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. 


Let's digress a moment and imagine what it must be like for Abraham and Sarah right now in that heavenly kingdom ' that glorious, heavenly 'City of God.'  Daily, new people arrive there from earth that had placed their trust in Jesus Christ to save them of their sins before dying.  What joy must enter their hearts when they consider what may have happened had they quit trusting God to lead them to this 'heavenly paradise.' 


Imagine, if you can, all of the mind struggles and conflict Abraham may have battled as he trudged across desolate wasteland while here on earth, searching for his 'promised land' that he believed God had promised him.   


One of his grandchildren cries out, 'Hey Grandpa Abe, we about there yet?!  How much longer?!  You keep telling us to stop and pitch the tents -- pack up and move -- pitch the tents and graze the livestock -- pack up and move -- pitch the tents again.  Do you think it's possible you're not really hearing from God afterall?  This is really getting old, you know.'


Or how about late at night while Sarah is lying by Abe in bed.  'Honey ' you know a lot of the family thinks you've gone off the deep end, don't you?  I don't think you have, but is there something we can do to keep the family from so much doubt and bickering?  How much longer does God expect us to have to put up with this, anyway?'


Maybe you've sort of assumed that Abraham and Sarah were such pillars of faith that they never battled doubt about whether their trust was really ever going to be honored, but how can we be so certain of that?  They were human, like us, right?  Sarah and Abraham both grew impatient with not receiving God's promise child to them so they decided to 'help God out a little' by having a child through consensual fornication.  Can we simply assume they never grew impatient in their journey to find the 'promised land?' 


Those of us who try to communicate spiritual things to help others on their spiritual journey to the 'heavenly city' sometimes minimize a vital component when we speak of the importance of having trust and faith in God, in His Word, and in His specific will for our lives.   We minimize patience.  We minimize the crucial importance of mixing patience with our trust and faith. 


Patience is getting harder and harder for many people to get hold of, simply because society seems to be making it that way.  The way of the world is to make things faster and quicker.  In America, we have become what is known as the 'microwave nation.'  Try to hold a three hour sermon in church on Sunday morning and most chairs will be empty the following Sunday. 


Jesus asks a stunning question recorded in Luke 18:7-8 (NKJV):  'And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?  I tell you that He will avenge them speedily.  Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?'


Through unction from the Holy Spirit, I believe God wants us to realize it is a lack of patience that will greatly contribute in strangling people's trust and faith in God as we draw closer to the end of this earth age, just prior to Jesus returning to earth.


It is becoming easier and easier for believers to put a timetable on our patience.  It is becoming easier and easier for a demon to whisper in our ear that if God doesn't do what we're trusting Him to do on our time frame ' then either it isn't His will, or our trust has been in vain.  


Warning: Our trust and faith is as fragile as a loose strand of straw in a category-5 hurricane without adding the glue of patience with it. 


The Book of James clues us into the importance of having patience in our trusting.  Of all the things the Holy Spirit has to say to us in the Book of James, keenly observe the first thing Christian believers are to get joyous about when their faith is being tried.  James Chapter 1, verse 2-3 ' the Holy Spirit wastes no time in hitting us right between the eyes with this nugget of 'survival' wisdom:


My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.


I believe the Holy Spirit wants us to dissect this nugget of scripture, so let's do so:  'The testing of our faith is designed by God to produce patience in us.'  Why, patience, Lord?!  ...we might wonder at first thought.   


And could God's answer, at least in part, be: 'Because impatience is one of the best tools the devil has of shipwrecking your faith and trust, that's why. 


James Chapter 1:5 tells us how to get wisdom from God.   We'll write out His method of going about it, but add one key insight that will add some clarity to it, we hope:


If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him ' (but be willing to be extremely patient with God in waiting for Him to give you that wisdom.  Sometimes it takes much longer than what we would like, to get it!).


Then the very next verse gives us a sobering warning that is sometimes difficult for us to grab ahold of in asking God for wisdom about a given matter:


But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 


Every time we ask God for wisdom in a given matter, a demon is going to be right there trying to get us to be impatient in our waiting to receive that wisdom from God.  Count on it.  What will be the number one means that a demon is going to try to get you to become impatient?  Doubt.  Doubt is the most effective means Satan has of short-circuiting what God wants to give us.  Peter learned that quickly while walking on top of the water.  When you pray for something, and see no answer right away in what you are asking and/or trusting God for, one of Satan's demons is going to work the 'doubt angle' every way it can.  'It's not God's will for you to have that ' maybe?,' the demon impresses upon our mind.  'That's just a selfish request, don't you suppose?  You know God doesn't grant selfish requests, don't you?' is another one of those subtle 'evil weeds of doubt' the demons have in their arsenal to sow in the garden of your mind.  'If it was God's will for you to have that, He would have given it to you by now, don't you think?  You suppose God doesn't really care about your situation ' afterall?' 


Demons are very proficient at making a statement of truth, or a half-truth, then putting poisonous fertilizer on the end of it by asking what seems to be such a harmless little question, so you don't focus on the poisonous weed of doubt that just got planted seconds before in your mind.


Carefully let the Holy Spirit deposit into the depths of your soul and spirit the wisdom God gives us in this one little scripture verse:


''that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.   ' Hebrews 6:12 


The wisdom of applying patience with our faith demonstrates to God that we're truly earnest in receiving help from God.  


Faith will give you the drive to let the Lord win the battle for you and grant you a blessing.  Patience will keep you persevering in your faith until your opponent is overcome, or until you arrive at your destination, so you can receive your blessing. 


Patience is wisdom.  Patience is one's willingness to rest in God's timing and in God's ways of doing what He chooses to do in our lives, because afterall, He knows what will most effectively equip us to ever-prepare us to walk into the fullness of our eternal destiny, doesn't He?


In the parable of the sower, Jesus points out the great value of patience: 


'And the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.  But the one that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.'  -- Luke 8:14-15 NKJV


When Jesus answers questions from His disciples about the end-times In Luke 21:16-19, Jesus says, 'You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will send some of you to your death.  And you will be hated by all for My name's sake.  But not a hair of your head shall be lost.  By your patience possess your souls.'


Romans 15:4-6 tells us we serve the God of patienceFor whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.  Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 


As the anti-christ gains influence in the end-times, God has this to say in Revelation 13:8-10 NKJV:  And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.  If anyone has an ear, let him hear.  He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword.  Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.


Many of the trials we are going through right now may very well be equipping us to face even more severe trials in our future.  None of us know just how precious mixing patience with our faith in our trials right now may greatly lessen the pain in trials that may visit us down the road, or others who hear of our testimonies of patience and faith here on earth perhaps long after we have gone to heaven. 


Persevere in your patient trusting in God.  Psalms 37:7 tells us:  Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.  Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret ' it only causes harm. 


Fretting ' worrying ' is one of the devil's most useful devices to trick us into our patience being eroded.  Worry and anxiety is cancer to patience.


Psalms 40:1-3 admonishes us again if we're patient with God, blessings are bound to follow:  I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.  He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.  He has put a new song in my mouth ' Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.    


Ron Thomas, a precious brother who just finished serving his time at one of the state prisons we are privileged to minister at used to say often to the other inmates:  'God's time may not be my time, but God is always on time.'  That is the proclamation of a very wise disciple of Jesus Christ who has been in the 'grueling incarceration school of patience' for a good number of years of his adult life (who has touched the lives of many other inmates while he was there, we might add).


One of the best things that has helped me to remain patient when I get anxious for God to move on my behalf of something I'm trusting Him for is a little plaque that hangs on our wall in our bedroom.  It's a picture of the Grand Canyon.  The only caption on it reads:  God's Work Takes Time.  


Learning patience takes time, and often takes dogged determination doesn't it?  Trials and tribulation is the hammer and chisel God is using on us to make us something far more precious and beautiful than the Grand Canyon. 


Thank you to each of you for all you are doing in patiently helping others through their trials they are facing.  In closing ' here is a final reminder of the priceless value of persistence and patience:


Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord-- 1 Cor. 15:58.


We do not lose heart.  Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.  For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  ' 2 Cor. 4:16-18.


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