The Lord Jesus suffered and died vicariously for the sins He never committed. Attached all over the Roman whips they used in beating Him, were pieces of iron, to make His pains grossly excruciating, before the crucifixion. Crucifixion was the most tortuous death reserved for hardened criminals. Most of the time, to avoid extreme blasphemy by the victims because of the agonizing pain, their tongues were cutoff.
That was the piercing and shameful suffering our Lord Jesus passed through because of us, yet, He forgave His murderers and prayed to God to forgive them. Though His tongue was not cutoff, He did not blaspheme at all. Love and concern rather compelled Him to settled Mary, His mother, as He handed her over to John, the beloved disciple. He settled John, His youngest disciple, by giving him another mother, Mary, His mother. Patience in tribulation!
I have not come to terms, why God gave Abraham a revelation about the number of children he would have and also why it took twenty five years before it was fulfilled. I had even expected that Sarah, his wife, would be bearing many quadruplets for him to cover the lost ground. What he had were only Isaac, the son of the promise, and Ishmael, from the bond woman. I never heard him grumbling that God had disappointed him. Patience in tribulation!
It would have been a different ball game had God given the revelation to him through someone. He spoke directly to him, yet, it took all that long for its fulfillment. He was still attending the naming ceremonies of other families and might be hearing their gossips about his need for children. Some people might be ridiculing brazenly his deep loyalty to God and laughing that he had nothing to show for it. Who knows whether the idol worshippers had challenged him for serving the God that could not give him children! Daddy Abraham did not grumble. It did not affect his faith. He continued to serve our God, the Living God. Patience in tribulation!
Uncle David was quite okay as a shepherd. He did not complain to anybody about the hazardous nature of the work. One day, God sent Prophet Samuel to anoint him the king of his people, though King Saul was still on the throne. It did not change anything in the lifestyle of the youth. It had never happened that an anointed king was not on the throne but was still his old self, except David! In the process of time, God lifted him up, causing him to kill General Goliath, the man-mountain of Gath. It was a public defence of his choice as the king. That singular act did not change his circumstance still. For many years, he did not sit on the throne. What was frequent was that King Saul and his soldiers were hunting every nook and cranny to kill him. At a time, he went to live in his enemy’s territory. He did not complain to God or to any person until he sat on the throne. Patience in tribulation!
It is gratifying to see someone suffering and he still bears the pains with patience. Uncle Job knew the reason for it. “For I know my Redeemer liveth,” he comforted himself in Job 19:25. It was not that he was not feeling the pains he was passing through, he assured himself that one day, God would answer him. He was fully aware that he had a Redeemer, the God Almighty, and that He is ever alive and is above his sufferings. For Abraham, children or no children, suf- fering or no suffering, his preoccupation was clear, “Looking for a city that had foundation in God,” Heb. 11.10. That could explain why he was ready to sacrifice Isaac, the son of his promise by God, without rationalization or relying on any Plan B agenda.
Believers, like the unbelievers, may suffer in this world, but unlike the unbelievers, we do not suffer because of our evil deeds. It may be because of our non-compromise stance on various issues, or because of our Christian commitment, or because we still live in this impact world. If a believer, however, commits sin, he will pay for it. The Word of God encourages the believer to run the Christian race, set before us, with patience. Longsuffering is a fruit of the Spirit. A stranger may not know us intimately, and so may our close relations. There is something in us that we cannot hide, the fruit of God’s Spirit! For sure, it will be witnessed, and others will know if it contradicts our Christian profession or not.
Patience in the spirit starts from the day someone makes the decision to have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. From that day, as the person is born-again, he becomes a member of the family of God. He will have the throne right as a member of God’s family. In every situation in his life, he has the assurance that God will meet his needs. It is important for him to know whether God has promised him the particular thing he is looking for, and if not, it will be a wasted effort for him to be waiting on Him on the need. There are two types of promises of God for His children, His general promises for all believers and His specific promises to various individuals according to their requests and needs.
Faith in God is important in waiting for what He has promised. If I promise tobuymysonacar,but did not tell him the day I will buy it, his presumption that it will be the next day or week, when I have in mind next month, will not change anything. All that he needs is patience. The manifestation of confidence in what God has promised us ignores all supervening circumstances that may crop up. What keeps the person relaxed is his absolute confidence in the personality of God. If I tell my wife to wait for me at a spot, she will do so, without fearing whether I will not honor my word, as she draws from my past dealings with her. Rainfall or harsh sunshine will not bring any doubts to her. It is possible that an extraneous circumstance, such as sickness, death, et cetera, may force me not to be there, but it is not so with God. He remains the unchanging changer. Knowing Who God is, Uncle Job, in his tribulation was calm. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him,” Job 13:15.
Testimonies of God’s dealings with His people help believers in being patient in tribulation. “If God has answered this brother, He will answer me,” they reason and then wait till the manifestation of their needs. Imagine Paul and Silas beaten and cast in jail in Athens because they healed a ventriloquist girl. Paul refused to exercise his right as a Roman citizen, who would not be beaten and jailed without trial. In jail, they chose rather to worship God in such a manner that other prisoners heard them, assured that God would rescue them. Patience in tribulation! And He did!