“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”
Suffering… we all have encountered it or we all will eventually encounter it. As long as we live on this earth WE WILL suffer. But the encouragement for the Christian, is not just to suffer, but to suffer patiently. What does this mean? Why should we be patient in the face of suffering?
We should be patient in the face of suffering because…
1. The Lord’s coming is near.
We can be patient in our suffering as Christians because of the astounding hope that we possess. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” Our suffering will be worth it, when our Savior returns and takes us to our heavenly abode, our true home. This fact will give us the ability to stand firm when everything else around us may make us want to fall down. When we suffer in this life, we must allow this promise to ring loud and echo within the walls of our hearts. Why? Because the Lord’s coming is near. It won’t be very long before He returns. So, no matter what type of suffering, whether it be sickness, grief, poverty, or persecution…. we CAN endure it, knowing that soon and very soon it will all be over. When we view our lives through the lens of eternity, our temporary sufferings do not even compare to the fullness of joy our hearts will experience when Jesus returns. Jesus is coming quickly! When He returns it will ALL be worth it!
2. Through suffering we are being made mature and complete.
What an honor it is to suffer for Christ sake! For Christians, our suffering is more than just experiencing “pain,” but experiencing “perfecting.” Not saying we won’t make mistakes, but that we have the blessing to grow towards maturity. Suffering cultivates Christ-like character within an individual that has a pure heart. Suffering gives us the opportunity to build godly character within us, which consequently will transform our hearts into the likeness of Christ Jesus. James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” How can we not rejoice? This is what life is all about! Being like Christ and getting a chance to live with Christ forever. So, if there is a reason to be patient in the face of suffering it is because our suffering is aiding in our progression of perfection of god-like character.
3. The Lord is FULL of compassion and mercy.
One of the biggest tools that Satan likes to use is doubt. He wants us to doubt the love, care, and mercy that God has for us. During suffering is where Satan seeks to do his best work. He’ll tempt us with thoughts like, “God doesn’t care. If He cared why did He let that happen?” “If He loved you, why are you going through this?” When we suffer, we must remember that we serve a God that is FULL of compassion and mercy. Not just full but that HE IS compassion and HE IS mercy! God cares about what we go through. “Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lam 3:22-23) Because of God’s great tenderness and mercy towards our situations, He never gives us more than what we can bear (1 Cor 10:13). It’s never a question of “IF” God cares. He cares and will ALWAYS care! So, we can be patient in the midst of our suffering knowing that we have a God that surrounds us with His mercy and compassion.
I write all of this to encourage you to patiently endure. There is PURPOSE in your pain, PERFECTING that will be produced because of your suffering, and sweet PROMISES tied to your suffering. Rest in the truth in what God has said in His Word. God loves you. Patiently endure all the way to the end. Be encouraged!
“Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.” -1 Peter 4:1-2
Fearless. Faithful. Following