“Be strong! Have all the strength of His glorious power. Then you will be able to endure anything. You will learn patience with joy.” Col 1:11 (Simple English Bible)
Patience wasn’t one of Maxwell’s watch words. He liked to dive right in, sweep aside all obstacles and get the job done. Whether it was playing tennis at the club, closing a deal at work, getting a project started or speaking to people about Christ, Maxwell was fully committed and eager. He even proposed to his wife and marred her within three months.
Yet, he couldn’t hurry up one aspect of his life. Having a baby! Maxwell was anxious to start a large family and had laid out a careful agenda over the coming years but there were medical difficulties. His wife, Janice, spent a lot of time calming her husband down. Finally, realizing that there was nothing anyone could do, Maxwell prayed fervently every day. It was still four long years before the twins were born. And when both babies were in his arms for the first time, he thanked his Father for the blessing with tears in his eyes.
I’m sure many Christians want things to happen for their churches, communities and friends. They have the zeal and eagerness to make an impact. While there’s nothing wrong with that, we can’t be hasty and say a quick prayer for a quick response. God has His will and we are only His servants. But we rejoice when the task has been completed for the glory of His Son.
“From Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for God’s chosen ones to believe and fully understand the truth of godly living. This is based on hope — hope for eternal life. God promised this before time began and God does not lie!” Titus 1:1-2 (Simple English Bible)
Over and over again, I am encouraged and amazed. Many of the refugees in South Africa, who have fled their homelands because of violence, disease and poverty, seem to be happier than those who live in this country and have jobs, security and a healthy lifestyle. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Those who are blessed with the good things should have a better attitude and joyfulness than those without?
Having spoken to many of these foreigners, so far from their homelands, they all say essentially the same thing: it is God who blesses in whatever measure He gives for the benefit of His believers. Many must work and live day to day. If they don’t earn enough for a day’s labor, they go without. Still, they rejoice and trust in their Father in Heaven.
They are hopelessly delusional! They expect Christ to return any day now! They can’t stop serving Him! Why is their faith so strong?
They are hopelessly hopeful.
“Now have I become your enemy because I am telling you the truth?” Gal 4:16 (Simple English Bible)
Jimmy thought it was funny.He’d played a prank on his friend at the swimming pool and laughed to no end. Rick had positioned himself to dive into the water and seemed to be taking too long. Jimmy helped him out with a quick boot in the behind. The result made people laugh. Jimmy’s Dad was no amused and made Jimmy apologize. The boy could scarcely contain his humor but half-heartedly made an effort.
His Dad wasn’t satisfied. On the way home from swimming, he stopped at the hospital and took Jimmy to a ward. The boy was shocked to see kids paralyzed in their beds. Broken necks, injured spines, fractured bones. Many were in wheelchairs, unable to help themselves. Jimmy was horrified and, as they drove home, asked his Dad to stop by Rick’s house so he could really apologize for his thoughtlessness.
There are times when we made similar mistakes in judgments. What we might laugh off, others might feel hurt and offended. Our dismissal could be another’s humiliation. If we do make a mistake, then we should also take responsibility to put it right. After all, if the love of Christ motivates us, then we will bring joy and hope to those who are hurting.