Faithful Patience

Proverbs 16: 32 Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.

I smirked when I read an article entitled “Training for Patience” (https://prosportpsychsym.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/training-for-patience/).  In it the author recalls a time when he had to remind a coach to be patient with his athlete; he reminded the coach that “Rome was not built in a day.”  The coach apparently turned the other way to his assistant coach and told him that it was strictly because he wasn’t the foreman.

While humorous, it is also disturbing because I have seen that mentality from coaches and athletes over and over again.  They believe the only thing hindering quicker develop is how hard the athlete is pushed.  They want results and they want them quickly.  If working out 7 hours per week at a reasonable intensity gets the results desired in 3 years, then training 14 hours per week at a higher intensity will surely produce results in half the time.   If the athlete is struggling, then clearly they need to work harder.

If you spend time looking at the fruit produced by such coaches, in their wake you will usually find a graveyard of injured athletes, or those who have quit because they lost their passion for the sport they once loved.  Impatience is the death of many an athlete.

I love today’s scripture from Proverbs because it throws the traditional concept of strength on it’s head.  Most young boys and many young girls desire to be warriors.  They’d love to be that person who sees a challenge, sees a barrier in front of them, and then demolishes it.  But as usual the Bible turns our human logic on its head: “better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city”. 

Patience is a characteristic of God.  We know that He is slow to anger (Psalm 103:8).  We know that Christ displays his patience with us sinners (1 Timothy 1: 15-16).  And we are told that this characteristic of patience must become a core characteristic in us.

Romans 8:25 says “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently”.  It is easy to quote a verse like that, but far more difficult to live it out.  At the core of patience is a persevering faith; a faith that says I will trust in God no matter what I see today.  For “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the certainty of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).  Is there something in your life today where you are struggling to wait patiently?  If so, spend some time remembering who you place your faith in.  Remember that God’s arm is not too short to bring about anything in your life – perhaps it is just time to patiently wait.  Because this coach doesn’t make mistakes.

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