Sunday, April 14, 2013

Passionate Patience

To be passionate:  showing strong feelings or intense believe or emotion

To be patient:  to be able to wait without becoming annoyed or anxious

One word shows action....the other leads us to believe "inaction".  Or rather action without stress or anxiousness.

Can we be passionately patient?  I found this paraphrase of Romans 5:3-5 in The Message:

"There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us,  and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.  In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary - we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!"

Verse 6 follows this up with..."Christ arrives right on time to make this happen."

Christ shows up right in the midst of our troubles...our battles.  He calls us to ENDURANCE.  Other translations reveal "suffering....producing perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, HOPE."  The end result is HOPE.

Bo Stern shares in her book "Beautiful Battlefields"  that endurance is not a gift, it is a developed skill.  It is what we learn on the battlefields of our life.  One battlefield is the groundwork for what lies ahead.  The seeds are planted, the lessons learned (if we endure and do not give up...although even when we give up, lessons are hopefully learned in the long run)....and we are prepared for the next battle.  Every battle becomes practice for the next one.

Bo also says "Endurance will inevitably be required to achieve anything of value.  That's why we should be thankful for our battlefields."

Today, there will be those of us in church, worshipping and enjoying our friends and family.  We might have smiles on our faces.  But how many of us/you are fighting a battle that only you, or a few know about?  Or maybe your battle is well known.  Having someone "hold up your hands" in the battle is a treasure that we absolutely must have to survive.  

Today, ask yourself a question "What is on the other side of this battlefield if I endure?  Will I grow and be better for it?"  Another quote from Bo, which reaches into the very depths of my heart, "Love led Jesus to the cross; obedience and endurance held Him there.  I am so grateful that He chose to stay, to outlast the suffering, to ENDURE it all for you and me."  Oh, how that touches me so deeply!

Passionate patience.....a developed skill that I so ardently desire in my life.  Alert expectancy.  Can I feel strongly in the waiting, without becoming annoyed or anxious, to reach the hope He promises.  The hope that does not put us to shame.  The battle where Christ arrives right on time and makes it happen.  I pray in the midst of whatever battle you may be facing, now or the one that is ahead, you will have passionate patience and joy will show up in the middle of the war.

Image from "Walking with Jesus Online"

note:  I highly recommend Beautiful Battlefields - a testimony of finding joy, peace and endurance in the middle of our battles. 


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