Patiently Waiting Like the Prophets
Many years ago, the saints would say, “Don’t pray for patience because something bad will happen.” I quickly learned bad things were going to happen anyway, so you might as well ask for patience and have faith in God to bring you through.
Many people do not like to talk about being patient because it is so hard – especially when you are hurting; and many of us are hurting. Why? Because we are:
- A nation polarized socially, politically, and economically.
- A nation divided on issues of age, race, gender, and religious freedoms.
- A nation unequal in educational and job/career opportunities and promotions.
More and more middle-class families are in food lines and searching for Christmas gifts at the Salvation Army out of necessity, not preference.
More and more people are experiencing mental health issues: bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, panic disorder, eating disorders, acute stress disorders, and many are contemplating suicide.
Whether a Baby Boomer (56-74 yeas old), Gen X (40-55 years old), Gen Y (24-29 years old), or Gen Z (8-23 years old), many suffering Christians feel like David felt:
How long, O Lord?
Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? (Psalm 13:1-2)
When life is unfair, unmanageable, and you are unable to change your circumstances on your own, follow James’s instructions to the poor Christian Jews who were also facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles. He wrote, “Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord” (James 5:10, NIV).
It is hard to be patient when you are hurting (whatever the cause). But the Bible was given for our instruction so that we might triumph over whatever or whoever might try to defeat us. We would be wise to pay attention to what it instructs us to do. Let’s take a closer look at James 5:10.
- First, I am struck by the fact that the prophets knew what God said. They were not repeating the latest slogan from the most popular prophet of that year. Each prophet had a personal relationship with God and listened to the voice of God. Hallelujah!
- The prophets spoke in the name of the Lord and said only what He said. They did not add to or subtract from what God told them to say, no matter how unpleasant the message was. How reassuring and refreshing and confirming.
- The prophets believed God would keep His promise, no matter how long it took to come to pass. We must resist giving up on God when our situation does not change within the specified timeline we set.
- The prophets were not preaching from an ivory tower, but were also affected by nationwide suffering and could identify with the people they ministered to. Today’s ministers are also affected by nationwide suffering – coronavirus, rising unemployment, mass evictions, increased mental health issues, pre-existing medical conditions, unexpected and unfamiliar technological ministry development, and ever-growing family discord.
- Godly patience gave the prophets stability and stamina while suffering. Isaiah explained the power of Godly patience this way, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Is 40:31, KJV).
The Old Testament prophets trusted God to sustain them through difficult times “until the promise was kept, or the suffering was over. We should do the same” (wwww.bibleref.com).
I hope the following prayer helps fortify you while you grow in Godly patience like the prophets:
Thank you that You have never left me alone to fight my battles. Thank you that even in the midst of all the uncertainty of my life and the world right now, that you are still God. Help me Lord, as I am dealing with so many different situations in my life, help my heart and mind stay focused on you. Help me to not grow downcast, but to remember that my hope is always in you. Thank you that you are my God, that you are my salvation and that you will always provide a way for me. I am trusting you Lord for this.
In Your Name I Pray,
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Dr. Dorothy J. Haire
Author & Blogger
Both church planter and pastor of Bread of Life Christian Church for the last 18 years, Dr. Haire is a beloved mother and successful author. Empowered to deliver the word of God to His people, Dr. Haire uses her digital platform to educate and develop Christian communities that are rooted in the word of Christ.