I got a big dose of patience this year in the form of four walls and a home loan. Ok, so you can’t “buy” patience, but when my husband and I bought a house a whole host of trials came in an unwritten postscript beneath the many dotted lines we signed. Between rules and requirements of loan companies, zoning regulations, and all the unexpected expenses and complications that came with the house, I learned about patience. From October of last year until May of this year I learned about waiting to move into a house that you had already committed to. You know those big yellow books about the Dummies’ Guide to such and so forth? I have some recommendations for one about buying a house.
Having said all that, I am thrilled that my husband and I are blessed to be in the house we are in. That’s what patience is about: holding on until something better comes and trusting that it will. It’s about learning to be happy where you are. Paul says in Philippians 4:11-12, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”
We can’t live with the idea of, “I can’t wait to move into my new house next month. Then life will be good.” For one thing, next month can easily turn into five. Trust me on this. For another, life is good now. It may not be perfect. We will never have the latest and greatest everything or have all our problems settled. The absence of all cause to worry is a unique characteristic of Heaven. What we need to learn is how to appreciate what is important and let the minor details remain minor in the midst of the trials.
That is actually how we get patience. In James 1:2-3 we are told, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” I am still growing as a Christian, and I freely admit that I haven’t yet reached a point where I am happy when things don’t go according to plan. My husband often reminds me, “You are being refined,” and he is right. Admittedly, I sometimes respond that there is going to be nothing left. Deep down, however, I know that everything I have gone through has made me stronger and built my character. I know that I am able to handle the more difficult situations I find myself in now with a greater trust in God because of what He has already brought me through.
Hope and patience are closely related. I was patient (or tried to be) while we were getting the house ready because I had hope it would be a good home for our family. Whatever we are going through, we always have the hope of Heaven, and that is the greatest hope of all. Romans 8:24-25 says, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” This is actually a circular process, because the more patience we have acquired, the more hope we have. According to Romans 5:3-4, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience, and experience, hope.” So, hope in something helps us have patience, and patience helps us have hope. It’s a process, and in my opinion, one of the more difficult ones. But what really important thing is ever easy? In this life, we aren’t promised easy. What we are promised is something perfect we can hope for. No matter what conflict or problem, whether it is with family, emotions, or finances, we can always look toward Heaven.
May the Lord bless and keep you,