From the Pastors' Desks

Patience

Patience. That’s been my “word” for these past few months.
 
If you know me at all, you know that patience isn’t one of my strong suits. I remember when I was just beginning ministry, I visited a wonderful, but frighteningly direct elderly lady named Anne McQueen.  She looked at me over her cup of Earl Grey tea and dainty eyeglasses and said, in her Scottish brogue and a disapproving tone, “You are a young man in a hurry.”   
 
As I’m reading through Paul’s letters, I’m finding that the Apostle loved the concept. In fact, I was surprised to find that when Paul lists the distinguishing marks of a “true apostle” he lists “signs and wonders and mighty works” and……you guessed it, patience.
 
"The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works." 2 Corinthians 12:12
 
In other words, Paul is saying, “This is how you can know that I am a true Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ: I can raise the dead (Acts 20:10) ……and I’m patient.”
 
That just doesn’t seem to fit. Why in the world would Paul put those two things together? Because they are both, equally, supernatural works of God! Patience is the external evidence of God’s inward work of power. Notice what he prays for the church in Colossae. He prays that they would be
 
“Strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.” (Colossians 1:11).
 
Patience is just as much supernatural evidence of the present, miraculous power of God as performing signs and wonders! Wow.
 
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Patience is hard. It takes a long time to learn and there’s only one way to learn it – the hard way. God works this mighty work into our lives in the context of suffering: when we have things we don’t want or lack things we do want.
 
This whole COVID-19 experience has been hard in so many different ways. However, I think I can say that I believe the Lord is using it in my life to teach me patience. At least I am gaining a better understanding of how it works.
 
For me, it’s about consciously taking whatever anxiety, frustration, or fear I’m facing at the moment and giving it, repeatedly, to God. It’s learning a different way of seeing things, learning to live with a longer horizon, looking at life from the other end - from the perspective of eternity. It’s about giving what I want to the Lord and trusting Him with it. And in return, I get peace and He gets the glory. And, if I’m reading my Bible right, in the end we get vastly more than we could even imagine asking. I’ll take that deal anytime.
 
As we wait for life to turn back to “normal”; as we wait for worship to be what it once was; as we experience anxiety or frustration because of the Governor, or the Session, or our spouse or our children or our neighbors or our work, etc, etc; let’s stop treating the waiting as a curse. Maybe it’s actually God’s workshop to create the “mighty work” of patience in our lives that will be our identity as His children. So be it Lord!
 

Pastor Dale

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