Letting Patience Work


That’s my boy, camped out in front of my parent’s door, waiting for me to come home from visiting some friends before we left NC.  For a kid who repeatedly says, “But I don’t LIKE to be patient!” he sure seemed to exhibit it that day, waiting so long that he finally gave up and fell asleep.  I talk to him all the time about being patient, about waiting (Lord knows, we’ve had plenty of examples of it lately).  My little man is a mini-me in more ways that his looks, its seems.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience, but let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect, complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4

I’ll be honest…this is not one of my favorite group of verses in the Bible.  Truth?  I’d like to pretend it wasn’t there, but that’s like wishing the sky wasn’t blue or that water wasn’t wet.  It’s there, whether I like it or not.

This morning I told my wife that I must not have grasped the lesson I needed to learn over the past 6 months, because here were are again in a period of waiting.  As I’ve said before, waiting is not a passive thing, but it’s an active hope of what is to come.  Waiting, it seems, is part and parcel with faith, the substance of things hoped for, but not yet seen.  James’ words above serve to reinforce this idea.  The trial, whatever it may be for you and me, comes and tests our faith.  The testing of our faith, the examination of it’s quality, serves to help us learn to be patient, and patience works in us to make us perfect.

That you may be perfect, complete, lacking nothing.

For months, the journey involved waiting on the Lord to show us the where of this journey, the place He was sending us, and He has indeed led us out of North Carolina to, quite literally, a broad and spacious land (Psalm 118:5) in Oklahoma.  Yet now that we are here, we are waiting again, this time on the why.  Why move us from the home we loved?  Why take me out of a church and a ministry that I loved?  Why bring us here to, essentially, start over?

I’ve found that I’m in a place where it is very easy to rely on the flesh, to lean on my own understanding, to try to use my own means, instead of being patient and relying on the Holy Spirit to lead, as He has all along this journey.  As a man, providing for my family weighs heavily on me.  I’m putting in job applications, doing the “Linked In” thing for the first time (I seriously always thought it was just spam…you learn something new every day), putting out feelers, as they say.  Scouring job openings wondering how in the world I could fit into them.

In the midst of this, the still, small voice whispers, “Patience Matthew…patience.

That you may be perfect, complete, lacking nothing.

Letting patience work is not my strong suit, and yet James says I’m to count it all joy.  I struggle not to go crazy in the waiting, and I’m supposed to consider it joy?  The only way I know how to handle this is to continually remind myself of what God has already done.  I’m so thankful I’ve kept a journal through all this, because I am prone to forget.  I try to remember how far He has brought us, both in actual distances and spiritually.  I return to those little stones of remembrance that I set up in my mind, those little monuments of His faithfulness up, again and again.

That you may be perfect, complete, lacking nothing.

In the waiting, in the patience, God is teaching us to listen to the Holy Spirit as He speaks to us in the Word, and in the day-to-day circumstances of life.  To really stop…wait…and listen.  He is teaching us to trust Him, even when the way doesn’t make sense to our human minds.  He is teaching us to obey when He says “go”, and to…sigh…sit still when He says to stay.

That you may be perfect, complete, lacking nothing.

I’m not there yet, y’all.  I suspect you aren’t either.  I have to remind myself daily this journey we are on is not primarily about moving to a new city or finding a job, or about any of the myriad things we all deal with in our day-to-day lives.  Above all, it’s about Jesus.  It’s about His will, not mine.  It’s about how the Holy Spirit is doing the work of making us more like Jesus through the journey, through the trial.

And it’s also a reminder that we never really arrive in this life, but continue on a long journey that will only be complete when we see Jesus face to face.  As John, one of Jesus’ closest friends, wrote:

“…and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2)

I long to see Him, more and more with each year of life.  And one day, I will.  One day…but not yet.  One day, faith will be sight.  One day, the waiting will be over.  One day, I won’t struggle with doubts, with fear, with worry.  One day.  Until then, like my boy waiting on my return, we wait for Jesus to come and make all things new.

We go on letting patience do it’s work in us so one day we, too,  may be perfect, complete, lacking nothing.  

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3 thoughts on “Letting Patience Work

  1. Love to the Daltons from the Rudds. You are always close in our hearts and prayers. Thank you for sharing so openly! As you wait on the Lord for the new vocation, I encourage you to think of the week you have as your only week of vacation…..what would you want to do as a family if you knew you were going to start the new job next week? We SO struggled with the patience while waiting for some why’s and what’s. If I had KNOWN that we would be moving in X # of weeks or Jeff was starting the new job on (fill in the date), I would have relished the week we had more fully. It’s no easy thing to wait, especially with patience . 🙂 We are lifting you up in prayer ! Whether you realize it or not, you are exhorting all of us to do the same. Thanks for honestly walking it out…….

  2. Bro, these verses in James hit me so hard as “our theme.” I wonder why God would move us away from all we know so I could travel everywhere my family cannot be. I’ve learned that only in my trust in God could I do what I do and leave my fleshly fear behind. With my five fingers I say God Has Everything Under Control. It’s a reminder and a blessing that His ways are not my ways. It will be awesome to look back and know how God started moving long before y’all knew. Your family has blessed so many in this adventure alone, I can’t imagine all the other ways. It’s a marathon….gotta keep on keepin on.

  3. Awesome…just Awesome and testimony of Christ Love…keep writing…keep sharing…keep believing….keep doing HIS will above all else….Blessings and Love to you and your family.

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