God Is the Giver of Patience
"Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 15:5-6)
The wailing just kept going on and on. On and on and on and on!
It was like a siren in Cody's ears. He snapped his workbook shut and left it on the kitchen table. He found his mother in the nursery, rocking Travis. "Mom, how can I memorize my vocab words with all this noise? When will that baby ever stop crying?"
"Cody, I need you to be patient with the baby. He's just teething."
"But I've been patient with him for weeks now! I was patient with him last night. I was patient with him this morning. Now I can't even think, and I've got to take two tests tomorrow!"
"Waaaaaaaaaaah!" Travis wailed again, as if to mock him.
"That's the thing about patience, Cody. It's supposed to go on and on. Travis isn't old enough to control all of his responses. He just knows his gums hurt." She looked down at the baby, who was happy for the moment, chewing on a ring of plastic keys. "I understand why it bothers you, Cody. And you could ask your dad for a pair of his hunting earplugs – if that would help. But unlike this little baby, you are old enough to control your emotions, and you are able to keep on being patient with someone who isn't there yet."
This story about Cody learning to put up with his loud little brother might sound kind of familiar to many of us. You may not have a teething baby in your house, but you probably know what it is like to have to spend time with someone who has annoying habits or with someone who is just plain grouchy!
Maybe your situation is more serious than Cody's. Maybe you are living with a confused grandparent who cannot even remember your name from day to day. Maybe your dad has to travel away from home for weeks and weeks for his job. Maybe no one in your family even has a job and there is not enough money for groceries every week. Maybe one day your church family will face persecution and torture for believing the Bible and for trying to live out what it says.
You probably know what it is like to get so irritated that you cannot stand one more second of a situation – whether it is sharing a bedroom, losing another ball game, hearing another mean comment about your appearance, failing another math test, or getting another cancer treatment.
Jesus Christ taught that the two greatest commandments are: (1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and (2) Love your neighbor as yourself. These are the two things God expects of us, because they cover all the rest of the Law. If we are able to obey these commandments, we will have a right relationship with God and a right relationship with human beings. Unfortunately, we find that these are probably the two hardest commandments for us to obey!
When we have a one-time crisis, that's one thing. When we know something is going to last only for a short time, we can "be patient" for a little while. If we can see "the light at the end of the tunnel," it is a lot easier to love and glorify the God Who put us in that tunnel. It is a lot easier to love and put up with the people around us.
But, as Cody's mom pointed out to him, it takes patience to keep on enduring a hard situation when it seems like it will never end. The apostle Paul writes a prayer in Romans 15:5-6. "Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
That word "patience" is the idea of "endurance" or "perseverance," which means being able to keep on going, keep on doing right, on and on. That word "consolation" is the idea of "emotional support" or "comfort." When we find it is hard to control our responses, perseverance is the ability God can give us – to keep on studying in spite of distractions, to keep on putting up with a difficult person, to keep on rejoicing even in painful trials.
Cody was fed up! He did not think he had it in him to take one more second of the baby's crying. We are not able, on our own, to be patient for long periods of time. We are not the source of perseverance and comfort. God is. We do not have it in us, on our own, to keep on glorifying and loving God when He sends hard trials into our lives. We do not have it in us, on our own, to keep on loving people even when they are hard to love. But God does. God's patience and consolation goes on and on, on and on!
God is the greatest Source of patience and consolation. Ask Him to give you what you need to glorify Him and to love His people no matter what.
» What kinds of things cause me to lose patience?
» Do I go to God when I need perseverance and comfort?
Truth In Real Life