Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Patience of Job

We've all heard others use the phrase "the patience of Job" as a trait that would be desirable and active in our own lives. In studying the book of Job lately, and in reading "Let God Be God" by Ray Stedman, Job was not always the picture of perfect patience. He questioned God many times about the pain and suffering he had to endure not of his own choosing. In Job 21:4, Job asks: "Is my complaint directed to man? Why should I not be impatient?" Job complained. Job asked why. Job even thought that it would have been better if he had never been born rather than have to endure the suffering and pain he had to go through. His wife bitterly nagged at him and said--why don't you just curse God and die. Does all of that picture the perfect picture of patience?

Patience is the ability to endure, to tolerate, to suffer long with calm and composure. Job learned patience from the things that he suffered. Through it all, he never lost sight of the Master he served. My favorite verse to remind me that God is worthy of serving is Job's statement "Even though he slay me, yet will I trust in Hiim." If Job can endure through all that he suffered with his view of God properly intact, then surely my suffering is small in comparison. I can place my faith in God who will endure with me through to the end. Romans 5:3-5 says "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

"Rejoice in our sufferings"---my, what a statement by the Apostle Paul in Romans. Can we truly rejoice in our sufferings? Christ did. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Job did. At the end of Job, we see Job as a contented man, blessed doubly, and he had peace with God and himself and those around him. We can rest assured that if God causes us to suffer and have pain, that first of all He will be with us through it---He promises never to leave or forsake us. He promises that the suffering we endure will build our perseverance, our character and ultimately the eternal hope of our relationship with Him. God cares much more for our character than he does our comfort. He wants to build within us a sustaining faith and trust in Him that will never end, that will allow us to cling to the hope of eternal peace forever with Him.

May patience be a trait we all strive to attain!


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