You know you’ve got a spiritually-gifted teacher when even his rabbit trails are revolutionary to you. Today we were going through the life of Abraham, and Professor/Pastor Randy somehow managed to link Genesis 17 with 2 Peter 1:5-7 (don’t even bother trying to understand how. And men think women’s minds are inexplicably complicated…)
“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.”
There’s a lot in that verse, but God used Pastor Randy to illuminate one special word for me: perseverance. Often translated as “patience” or “endurance”. And here’s why: the greek word, hupomoné, is literally translated as “remaining under”.
If your anything like me, that doesn’t make any sense. When I think of patience, I see someone sitting on the couch doing nothing. Just waiting. I think many of us often equate patience with the absence of action, at least on some level. We flash back to Christmas at 6 years old. We’re staring at our growing pile of presents, wanting with every fiber of our small-yet-powerful beings to tear into our gifts. And what does mom say? “You’ll just have to be patient”. So we sit, at the foot of the tree, just staring at gaudy wrapping paper. Patience is somehow ignoring that part of your brain that’s screaming, “Can’t it be Christmas already?!”
But let’s entertain the idea that God may mean more by “patience” than becoming overly familiar with Christmas tree lights. Picture instead a body builder. He’s laying there on the bench press, struggling with the weight of the bar-bell, but he’s keeps it up. Or, you could say, he stays underneath it. It may hurt, but he knows the its only way he’ll get stronger. That’s patience. Bearing the load, staying beneath the weight of whatever God gives you. It’s staying strong as a single Christian when you really want to be married, knowing that God is using this time to continually transform you into a better future spouse. It’s enduring while your homework load seems to be only increasing, knowing that God is not only strengthening your mind, but your character and your work ethic as well. It’s staying steadfast on your knees while life is hurricane-ing around you, fixing (more like locking) your eyes on Jesus, knowing that God has neither lost interest in nor the power to handle whatever is raging around (or inside) you.
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men struggle badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up on wings like eagles, the will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:28-31.
Be patient. Persevere. Endure. Bear it well. Stay beneath.