Have you noticed how more and more products are now stamped with an expiration date? Wouldn’t it be nice if we had one of those dates conveniently stamped on our body somewhere? How differently we might embrace life if we knew when our time on this earth or the time of those we love was going to be finished. But that would be kind of cheating – peeking at the answer key before the test was over, wouldn’t it? I have a feeling productivity for many would be lost as they tried to “live it up” before they approached the end and then suddenly ask for forgiveness and acceptance from their Maker as they stood on death’s door.
Obviously, that is not God’s plan for us. He has known from the beginning of time when our expiration date will occur, but what he wants to see is what we are going to do with the time we have before that date. Sometimes we are given warnings or reminders through the trials we face that this day may appear sooner than we expect. As we have found out, cancer is a big reminder that the plans we have painted in our heads of our future just may not be what God has planned for us. The challenge is how do we find the patience to wait on God’s plans for our lives to play out?
God’s written word gives us instructions on how to find patience. It is not easy and answers are not always readily apparent, but if we humble ourselves and take the time to ask God for his guidance, our decisions will not be made with haste and end in regret. God will show us the way in His timing and in His way. Patience is a gift of the Spirit given to us from God. It is up to us to take the time to use it in our lives.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV)
“Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ – eternal and glorious plans they are! - will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.” - 1 Peter 5:8-11 (MSG)
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” - Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” - Hebrews 10:23 (LB)
“We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” - Hebrews 6:12 (NIV)
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (LB) - Hebrews 10:36
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” - James 1:2-4 (NIV)
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” - Colossians 3:12-13 (NIV)
There was a quote made in the movie Evan Almighty that really made me think. God was talking to Evan’s wife and said, “Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?”
Hmm...there might be something to this. God wants us to be patient, but when we ask God to give us patience, we may receive something we had not bargained for. The point is we are faced with challenges and frustrations, big and small, through out our time here on earth. We have to decide - are we going to humble ourselves and take the time to patiently wait for God to show us the way or try to fix everything in a knee jerk reaction? Contemplation, prayer and reading the Bible all help to find the path God has planned for us. He never said this life would be easy, but He is patiently waiting on us to find those answers and all the blessings He has in store for us.
Until next time, we are praying for God to surround you with love, peace and patience to face each new day.