Patience Grows Love in the Petri Dish of Suffering

Day 16 (Originally posted on Facebook, 16 days after my son’s death)

Job 3:11 a, 26: “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?. . . I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.”

Throughout my scripture reading I have always struggled with Job and other bearers of great suffering. Why would God allow Satan to test Job? He even goes so far as to point Job out. Can you imagine the God of the Universe pointing you out for Satan’s “special” attention? “Have you considered my servant …___________?”

No thank you!

“She has the patience of Job” is used when describing someone who is enduring great suffering. What do patience and suffering have to do with each other?

Patience: from the Latin word patiencia- “endurance”, from pati- “to suffer”.

  1. the quality of being patient, as the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.
  2. an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
  3. quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence: to work with patience. (Dictionary.com)

Alright, so suffering is in the very meaning of patience.

Job suffered the loss of all his children, his livelihood, and his health. He even had to suffer through the speeches of three friends who have been nicknamed “miserable comforters”. The closest that the devil can get to having Job curse God is to curse his own birth. But, at the end of the day God had final say over even that. “Where were you when. . .” (38:4) In other words, I am God and you are not.

God doesn’t always tell us why we suffer, but he did not spare his own son, who was without blemish, and look at the results of Jesus’ suffering the cross. Many are saved. I have seen enough examples throughout scripture and in life to know that suffering comes, and that I always have a choice as to how I will respond to it. To truly love others, patience must be the first part of my response. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says love is patient,” . . . Without patience love doesn’t stand a chance. Patience, at its core, means that I am giving up my right to have my way; that I am “bearing provocation, annoyance, misfortune or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation or the like.”

Barbara Johnson, one of my all-time favorite humorists said, “Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.”

Today I practice idling my motor, accepting God’s will for my life. The result is ALWAYS that many are saved. Just ask fellow sufferers, Joseph, Moses, Job and Jesus. Our suffering produces good things when we obey the will of God.

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Testimony Tuesday: The Relationship between Pain and our Spiritual Health

In a previous post on perseverance I spoke about pain as a necessity so that we pay attention, change, and care for our bodies. Some of us, have pain that goes above and beyond the norm.

I just found out that my discs are deteriorating and my hip sockets were not formed right so my cartilage is wearing away. The orthopedist called me a “tween” I am in the teenage years of hip replacement. Right now the goal is pain management but I have surgery in my future. Daunting prospects, because I’ve cared for patients who have the level of pain I currently have and watched their spirits deteriorate along with their body. But, I’ve also watched spirits increase and abound in other patients who chose to open themselves up to Christ being enough in their pain. So how do we meet pain with the balm of spiritual discipline?

1. Acknowledge the pain and our needs

2. Put it in right context: believe

3. Repent of any sin contributing to our health

4. Surround ourselves with a cloud of witnesses

5. Act on the opportunities given for health and wholeness

6. Bless others who are suffering

 

I know I’m only scratching the surface today, but I’m working through this as I go. We’ll talk more as

I journey through.

Matthew Henry’s commentary on 2 Chronicles 21;12-20, a rather gruesome prophecy given to King Jehoram, but unheeded, is contrasted with  very good news for those who believe even while they suffer.

Good men may be afflicted with diseases; but to them they are fatherly chastisements, and by the support of Divine consolations the soul may dwell at ease, even when the body lies in pain. To be sick and poor, sick and solitary, but especially to be sick and in sin, sick and under the curse of God, sick and without grace to bear it, is a most deplorable case. Wickedness and profaneness make men despicable, even in the eyes of those who have but little religion.

 

 

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