Weekly Thought – November 8, 2016
Fred read deeply in devotional writing. He appreciated Gratian’s Manual, Practicing the Presence of God, The Seeking Heart, and My Utmost For His Highest, among many others. His copies were heavily noted and annotated with thoughts prompted by these ancient writers. Fred’s long-time and valued friend Harold Myra is currently working on a devotional based on the writings of Brother Lawrence. Fred would have thoroughly enjoyed “thinking on those things.”
The BWFLI schedule for 2016 is completed – with great joy and thanksgiving. Please pray for LeTourneau University and Greenville College which are actively in the planning stages currently for 2017.
Pain and Gain of Tribulation
Until I spent several months on my back, unable to move, I didn’t really appreciate patience. Perhaps I could have given you “three points of managing a patient attitude,” but I didn’t experientially understand. Now I know that true patience reduces unhealthy distress without diminishing healthy stress. Patience brings poise to our life, enabling us to discern between the important and the less important. It gives us tolerance for the point of view of others. Patience promotes meditation. The Scripture confirms the ancient saint’s belief that patience develops character. “Tribulation brings about perseverance and perseverance, proven character, and proven character hope” is the way Paul said it. Here we see that hope is in the direct line of blessing with tribulation and patience.
Brother Lawrence said that he prayed for tribulation in order to become stronger so that he might endure even more tribulation. He saw suffering as “God’s gymnasium.” When you are an A-type personality, everything has to happen quickly. Yet tribulation has its own pace – its own rhythm. I have found patience to be the only antidote for my frustrations, most of which have been seated in my ego. I get irritated because I wanted my own way and at my speed. Today my immobility and total dependence on others have made patience so valuable in avoiding testiness. (My family may think I have more work to do to completely operate with my irenic spirit!)
Tribulation can be either positive or negative. The choice is yours to make and as you want it, so it shall be. A national magazine picked up a phrase I have begun to use: “I am not disabled; I am delightfully dependent.” The “delightful” is my way of being patient.
Patience, like many of our most valued qualities, is slow growing. Patience is an oak tree, not a cornstalk. Patience is available to all of us who are willing to pay the price. It is not an inherited quality that comes in the genes – it is the result of tribulation and our disciplined response.
Sweating it out in God’s gymnasium is hard work, but the Coach knows best.
This week think about: 1) What do I really think about tribulation? 2) How do I adjust my attitude in patience-building circumstances? 3) Who models patience in a healthy way for me?
Words of Wisdom: “Patience is not an inherited quality that comes in the genes – it is the result of tribulation and our disciplined response.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope.” (Romans 5: 3,4 NET Bible)