On having patience and praying
God's servants can overcome their worries in life and all the things that may cause frustrations. They need to believe in the value and efficacy of praying to Him.
By ROLAND A. AGUIRRE
PATIENCE IS ONE of the most valuable virtues in life. However, this character trait seems to be diminishing in this fast-paced society we are living in. Now that “instant” is a common word in many people’s vocabulary—instant coffee, instant messages, instant wealth, etc.; and almost everything, food, plane tickets, hotel bookings, and access to many sorts of information is just a click away—many tend to expect express solutions to problems and immediate answers to their concerns. When their expectations are not met, they lose their patience and feel as though all hope is lost.
Moreover, situations in life that veer out of one’s control and the threats of disasters, dangers, and diseases, contribute to his impatience and frustrations.
Yet amid the dizzying pace of life nowadays, the Bible encourages God’s servants to be patient:
“So be patient, brethren, [as you wait] till the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits expectantly for the precious harvest from the land. [See how] he keeps up his patient [vigil] over it until it receives the early and late rains. So you also must be patient. Establish your hearts [strengthen and confirm them in the final certainty], for the coming of the Lord is very near.” (James 5:7–8 Amplified Bible)
They should not become unduly impatient and lose hope, for they have God to trust in:
“Who is the man who desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good?
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Ps. 34:12, 8 New King James Version)
Patience in praying
Indeed, with God, His servants can overcome their worries in life and all the things that may cause frustrations. They need to believe in the value and efficacy of praying to Him. But there are those who, when their prayers to God are not answered, feel deep anguish and disappointment. This leads some to lose their trust and hope in God:
“I call to you, O God, but you never answer; and when I pray, you pay no attention. … You let the wind blow me away; you toss me about in a raging storm. … I hoped for happiness and light, but trouble and darkness came instead. I am torn apart by worry and pain; I have had day after day of suffering.”
(Job 30:20, 22, 26–27 Good News Bible)
Indeed, it is frustrating for people to find that their calls seem to fall on deaf ears. But is it right to hold a grudge or grievance against our Almighty God when prayers to Him are unanswered? In the first place, who has the privilege to approach and pray to God and to our Lord Jesus Christ?
The privilege of God’s people
Being heard by God is a privilege that He gives to His people. This privilege is not something just anyone can earn for himself because of the works he does. It is based on God’s calling or election:
“They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people;’ And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” (Zech. 13:9 NKJV)
The Holy Scriptures prove that one must first belong to God’s chosen people so that his prayers to Him will not be rejected. In the Christian era, the people proven by the Lord Jesus Christ as the chosen ones have been given the right and privilege to worship and pray to Him and to God. Christ confirms:
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” (John 15:16 NKJV)
Our Lord Jesus Christ likened His chosen ones to branches joined to the vine. The vine Christ was referring to is Himself. Parallel to the relationship of the vine to the branches is the relationship of the head to the body. The head being referred to is our Lord Jesus Christ and the body is His Church (John 15:5; Col. 1:18). This is the Church Of Christ which He has redeemed with His blood:
“Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.”
(Acts 20:28 Lamsa Translation)
Therefore, being the branches that are joined to the vine who is Christ, the members of the Church Of Christ have received a great blessing. Through their calling and election, they have been given the privilege to approach and pray to God. But they need to be patient when praying for their needs.
The value of obedience
Refusal to comply with God’s commandments is the reason things turn for the worse in man’s life. The prophet Jeremiah attested that the people of Israel were cursed by God and ended up in a wretched condition when they became stubborn and refused to obey His commands
(Jer. 7:24–26, 28).
Obeying God’s commandments is a must for His people to remain belonging to Him. God’s statement concerning the importance of obedience is unequivocally stated:
“But I did command them to obey me, so that I would be their God and they would be my people. And I told them to live the way I had commanded them, so that things would go well for them.” (Jer. 7:23 New International Version)
Thus, what God’s people should make sure of is that they abide by the conditions He set in order for their prayers to be heard. Remaining obedient will surely result in God’s answers to their pleadings
(I John 3:22). They should never ever bear a grudge against God, complain, nor give up on Him and lose hope if their prayers are not immediately answered.
Abiding trust in God
Those who belong to God’s nation yet are impatient and complaining instead of trusting in Him have something to realize. God said:
“Israel, why then do you complain that the Lord doesn’t know your troubles or care if you suffer injustice? Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? The Lord is the everlasting God; he created all the world. He never grows tired or weary. No one understands his thoughts. He strengthens those who are weak and tired. Even those who are young grow weak; young men can fall exhausted. But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.”
(Isa. 40:27–31 GNB)
God wants His chosen ones to know that He is all-powerful and nothing is impossible with Him. He can give whatever they need. He will do so in His time and in His ways, just as long as they completely put their trust and hope in Him.
The Bible makes clear the extent of God’s power and the things He can do for His righteous servants:
“The Lord kills and restores to life; he sends people to the world of the dead and brings them back again. He makes some men poor and others rich; he humbles some and makes others great. He lifts the poor from the dust and raises the needy from their misery. He makes them companions of princes and puts them in places of honor. The foundations of the earth belong to the Lord; on them he has built the world. He protects the lives of his faithful people, but the wicked disappear in darkness; a man does not triumph by his own strength.” (I Sam. 2:6–9 GNB)
Hence, there is no reason for God’s people to complain and become impatient when situations around them look overwhelming and require immediate solutions.
Instead of complaining or losing one’s hope, His servants should wait in patience for His mercy:
“So it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us— . . . When we suffer, we should sit alone in silent patience; We should bow in submission, for there may still be hope … The Lord is merciful and will not reject us forever.”
(Lam. 3:26, 28–29, 31 GNB)
Undoubtedly, the Lord God is very eager and willing to help solve all the worries and provide all the needs of His people whom He has given the right to draw near or pray to Him and to the Lord Jesus Christ. The prophet Isaiah elucidates:
“And yet the Lord is waiting to be merciful to you. He is ready to take pity on you because he always does what is right. Happy are those who put their trust in the Lord … The Lord is compassionate, and when you cry to him for help, he will answer you. The Lord will make you go through hard times, but he himself will be there to teach you, and you will not have to search for him anymore. If you wander off the road to the right or the left, you will hear his voice behind you saying, ‘Here is the road. Follow it’.” (Isa. 30:18–21 GNB)
Hence, God’s chosen ones await their salvation that is certain to come with confident hope and trust. Amid all the haste and hardship in the world, they remain unperturbed knowing full well that they will receive God’s reward and promises as long as they continue doing His will:
“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” (Heb. 10:35–36 New Living Translation)
They continue having faith in the power of prayer. The words of the Psalmist about patience in praying to the Lord God inspire them:
“I waited patiently for the LORD’s help; then he listened to me and heard my cry.” (Ps. 40:1 NLT)
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