Love is PATIENT
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient…”
TRUTH TO BELIEVE:
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—
and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.” Isaiah 11:1
Genesis chapters 1 and 2 set up a beautiful love story. A great King loved His people enough to give freedom and boundaries. In Genesis 3 we watch as the people of the kingdom are sentenced to be separated from their King forever. But of course, the story isn’t over. Like any great story a Rescuer is on the way. The King has sent for His Son.
The people wait and they wait. For 39 books of the Old Testament and 42 long generations the people wait. Some from the kingdom gave up hope, and some grew impatient.
And then at the beginning of the gospels we finally see the Branch that bears fruit. The Messiah has taken up residency with the people. This mighty Branch is the Great Rescuer. In Him prophecies are fulfilled and all is being restored.
Situations that seem helpless and hopeless- jobs, finances, broken families, sickness, loved ones who lose their way- all of these begin to find new life and new growth at the hand of the King.
Today, turn your wishful thinking into patience. Dig your roots deep in the truth that your King’s timing is perfect. Your patience even in the midst of suffering demonstrates the depth of your roots. Obstacles become doorways for grace and challenges surface as chances to patiently declare, “Yes. I trust You. I trust your timing. I will patiently wait for you.”
HOPE TO CLAIM:
“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3, NIV
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8, NIV
CHALLENGE TO EMBRACE:
I’m certain today will provide you with opportunities to grow in patience… life seems to be generous in this arena!
-When you are tempted to come up short in anger or despair in what appear to be unanswered prayers, meditate on this verse from Philippians.
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4-7, NIV
-Try turning this into an activity for the entire month. Print out a calendar or draw one out in your journal. Write out Philippians 4:5-7 at the top. Spend some time filling each day with something that could tempt you to worry or be impatient: specific names of family members, stressful activities, or long-standing prayers. As each day comes focus on lifting up the things that cause you to be impatient. You could even turn this into an opportunity to pray in color. Ask specifically that you would feel God’s nearness and trust His timing.
Paul doesn’t say that love is wanting to be patient or hoping to be patient. He reminds us that love IS patient.
ADVENT RESOURCE: The Bethlehem Star. Spend some time on the website. I watched this DVD for the first time in 2006 and I have rented it from the library every year since. This study fascinated me and reminded me that you can press the Scriptures hard and find scientific evidence for the things that it says.