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By Pastor Glenn Pease
A young boy, who had reached the age where having a watch made life worth living, was bugging his parents to get him one.
He was told he would have to wait until he was older.
But he continued to beg for one until his whole family was sick of it.
His father finally laid down the law and told him he would get one later, but for now he was not to even mention the subject again.
The next Sunday, as was the custom, each child in the family read a Bible verse at the dinner table.
When it came to Edward's turn, this was the verse he chose to read-"What I say unto you, I say unto all: Watch!"
For every rule there is someway to get around it, and here was a lad who found a way to even use the Bible to disobey his parents.
Most of us can identify with him, for we have had an obsession with getting something, and we could not rest until we got it.
This puts our patience to the test, and we realize it is no easy virtue to achieve-this ability to wait for what we want with a calm and undisturbed spirit in the face of obstacles and delays.
In our age of instant gratification, nobody enjoys waiting for satisfaction, but God demands that His children learn to discipline their desires, and to persevere and not give up because they do not reach their goals as soon as they hoped.
Shakespeare said, "How poor are they who have not patience.
What wound did ever heal but by degrees?" Waiting and persevering are a part of God's plan for His people, and those who can't endure this part of it miss out on God's best.
The Bible is constantly urging Christians to look at life long range.
Job is the greatest example of patience because he was able to endure and persevere.
He did not give up even though all the evidence seemed to support that he should.
He had the fruit of patience, and held on to see a happy ending to a very difficult story.
All's well that ends well is the message, and all is guaranteed to end well for those who wait on the Lord, and never give up, but let patience be their guide.
Dr. Wilhelm DeNejs heads the Services for the Blind in Santa Anna, California.
He helps blind people learn that by patient perseverance they can do what they never dreamed possible.
He even helped an electrician who became blind continue his vocation of wiring new houses.
He had to learn how to tell the difference between black and white wires by touch.
It was a slow process but he finally gained enough confidence so he could do the job as fast as a sighted person.
Dr. DeNejs had good reason to believe in the possibility of achieving the seemingly impossible by patient plodding.
He lived in Indonesia when Sukarno came to power, and was determined to kill all of the royal blood line, and he was in that line.
He and his wife had to flee in a canoe at night to Singapore.
They had to get to the Netherlands where their five children were in school.
He spoke at a local Rotary Club, and told of his plan to drive his Tempo to Holland, and then get to the U. S. where he could aid those who lost their rights.
He was not blind but he had lost much of his vision.
An executive in the audience from Shell Oil Company was moved, and gave him the use of his credit card for his journey.
Fifty miles out of Singapore the road ended, and they had to drive over open fields.
They got stuck and needed to get farmers to pull them out.
They came to rivers with no bridges, and he would have to take the engine out, put it on the roof of the car, and he and his wife would push the car across the river.
Sometimes friendly natives would build a raft for them to float the car across.
They often had to clean the road of debris and underbrush, but the made it to Pakistan, and then across India.
It got so cold in the Khyber Pass going into Afghanistan they had to drain the water out of the radiator at night, and wait until the water thawed again the next morning to put it back in.
They got through Iran and Iraq, but at the Syrian border they were denied entrance.
What a blow!
But as they sat there praying for an answer, a stranger came to the window of the car and said, "just wait here, tomorrow or the next day, or soon, a sandstorm will come.
No one will be able to see you and you can drive across the border.
No one will risk coming after you, for these sandstorms can kill a camel.
So they waited, and waited, and waited, and finally it came.
The sand began to blow and the guards retreated into their guard house.
DeNejs could not see, but he had the car pointed in the right direction, and so he started the car and drove straight ahead.
He drove quite a way across the border, and then stopped to wait out the storm.
When they could see again, the road was covered by sand.
They just followed signs, like dead camels caught in the storm, and kept going across the desert.
They had to drink water out of the car radiator to survive.
In Yugoslavia they tipped over into a ditch, and it took seven days to repair the car.
The doors were tied on with wire, and the motor was coughing and missing as they crossed the Austrian Alps, but they made it into the beautiful green hills and valleys of Germany.
They made it to the factory where their Tempo had been made, and their story so impressed the manager, he repaired their car without charge.
From then it was smooth riding to the Netherlands, and to the waiting arms of their happy children.
Six months and 20,000 miles of hardships were behind them.
When asked what kept them going DeNejs said, "We believed deeply that if we had the patience and faith, nothing was impossible.
We had faith in our Lord."
It is the fruit of patience that keeps people from giving up when it seems hopeless.
Joseph had to endure the pit and the prison before he got to the palace.
Without patience he would have given up and stopped pursuing his dream.
This can happen to God's people when they go through tough times and that is why we read in Heb.
6:11-12, "We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."
Only those with the fruit of patience will be able to hang in there until the story has a happy ending.
Charles Jefferson in his book, The Character of Jesus; points out that Jesus had to the superlative degree both aspects of patience.
Patience is one word, but it is like many stars that look like one star, but which are really two.
Double stars are very common, and so are words that have double meanings.
Patience is an example.
It means, says Jefferson, both-a calm waiting for something hoped for, and the unruffled endurance of pain and trouble.
The two are different.
In the first case patience is waiting for what is hoped for with nothing to endure but the time it takes for the goal to be achieved.
In the second case their is the need for endurance and perseverance for their are many obstacles to be overcome.
Love is the key fruit out of which all the others grow.
But love does not always get a positive response.
If love only lasts until people who are loved become unlovely, then love is a very flimsy foundation.
Love needs patience to last.
When only one of ten lepers came back to thank Jesus for the healing, He had every reason to be tempted to give up on healing the sick.
Many of us may have said I have had it with these ungrateful wretches.
They deserve to be the outcasts of society.
I am not going to be giving out miracles so freely from now on.
But Jesus did not give this response, but just patiently went about doing good even if people were not responding with gratitude.
He continued to love because His love was linked with patience, which makes love last and not give up.
Anybody can be loving for awhile, but no virtue is of great value, even love, if it does not last, but is only temporary.
Virtues only become Christ like when they last, and become persistent in the face of obstacles.
This is only possible when they are linked with patience.
The fruit of patience is what makes every virtue a Christian virtue.
Christian virtues are those that last, and do not disappear when there are obstacles and opposition.
You cannot eliminate any one of the fruits, for they hang together like grapes on the vine and the removal of any one of them spoils the whole cluster.
None of the fruits can be truly Christian without this fruit of patience, for if they do not last they are virtues that any pagan can have for a time.
It is impossible for us to have these fruits all the time, and that is why we need the Holy Spirit, for they are not produced by human resources but by the resource that only God can provide.
They are fruits of the Spirit.
Jesus could only respond as He did to life's trials because He was filled with the Spirit.
Chuck Swindoll in his book, Laugh Again, writes,
"How could any man be as patient as He was?
How could He
keep His cool under constant fire?
How could He demonstrate
so much grace, so much compassion, and at the same time so
much determination?
And when faced with the Pharisees'
continued badgering and baiting, how could he restrain Himself
from punching their lights out?
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