Best of Daily Reflections: Patience in Suffering
“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.”
When I think of suffering, I often think of Job. After all his earthly wealth—including his entire family—is taken away, he shaves his head, tears his clothes, blesses the name of the Lord, and waits. He waits and waits and waits. Night after miserable night. It must have seemed to him like forever.
Waiting is hard.
In the black nights of suffering, when ominous clouds come in from the west, it’s hard to know whether those clouds bring nourishing rain or devastating hail that destroys a year’s work. We have no way of knowing how long we’ll be sitting in ashes and how long our heart will ache. When will our new story emerge?
The Bible doesn’t instruct us to muzzle our thoughts or to pretend we are happy about our situation. The Gospel never orders us to love misery. Even Job pled to the Lord for mercy and was open about his fear and dread. The Bible tells us to have confidence in those who have suffered before us and trust that the lessons in Job are relevant for our modern day pain. It tells us to cast our burdens to the Lord.
Perseverance is a gift; a block of character. Perseverance grows in time, and often in the dark. Trusting that God’s lesson in Job is relevant to our own personal stories is key. The Lord is indeed full of compassion and mercy, even if we are currently sighing and groaning, resting only in our turmoil.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What have you been grumbling about lately? How can you focus your inner thoughts on God instead of yourself and ask for God’s sweet relief in his perfect time?
PRAYER: Faithful God, we are hurting. As we sit in our sinful lives and face trials we never expected, give us the patience to be still. To survive in a deep dark place with hope that it won’t last forever. Please let us believe in your promises: redemption will occur, and restoration is not only possible, but true. Your mercy is beyond understanding. Help us know that the seed underneath the soil will be nourished by rains we cannot see today, but in time will come. It is so hard, Lord, to wait. To believe in things unseen and hope that isn’t readily self-evident. And yet we trust in your word and your promises. Help us persevere in our suffering. Amen.