Maybe I'm just a slow learner, but it seems that God continues to repeat his lessons over and over again. I think I've learned the creed, the principle and then God challenges me again and I begin to wonder: why do I need to keep being taught the same thing? God, don't you think I understand it by now?
His answer is always, no. There is more to know, more to learn - room to grow. His favorite lesson is Patience 101. He brings situations about that require my utmost patience if I want to remain obedient and faithful, spiritually speaking. If I lose my patience I separate myself from God and that has dire consequences. I can immediately tell when I have traded patience for frustration. Instead of feeling peace I feel anxiety. Instead of an overwhelming sense of calm, I end up with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. Sometimes I fail the test. I give in to the human failings in me that want my way in my time. Yet, God is pushing me to the end of myself and the end of my human desires. He is asking me to abandon my preconceived notions of how life "should" be in return for the promises of contentment, peace, and salvation that are only found when all trust is put in Him.
For years my patience has been put to the test. I must admit that I was an utter failure in the beginning. I would cry, lament, moan, complain - you name it, I did it. My patience was miniscule and was entirely based on my circumstances. But God broke me. He challenged me to give up on my own way and trust that His timing was better. He wanted me to believe that He knew best, even if through my own human eyes I couldn't understand all the details. Through tears I relented. I remember one night in particular that I laid in bed, feeling that my body had come to the end of itself and could give out at any moment. I laid in my bed and cried out to God, telling Him that I was His to take or His to save. If He let me suffer I suffered for His name's sake and if He healed me then He healed me for His glory. I released my tight grip on my future and let Him have His way. Within moments I was asleep. God had given me a calm and a peace that I couldn't manufacture on my own. He had to do that work in me and that night He did just that.
I woke up the next morning knowing that I was being sustained not my food, a doctor or my own will. I knew at that moment that I was being sustained by God's almighty hand. He had been carrying me all along but I had been reluctant to allow myself to fully grasp what that meant. I wanted to keep a hold on the situation when really, I never had a hold of it to begin with. I never had the power to sustain my body through the health trials, low weight and sickness. God did all that.
Since that morning I've been faced with more circumstances that require my patience and my trust in God's providence. My trial has lasted for years now and I don't see an immediate end in sight. But I don't need an end to know that God is in control. He isn't obligated to provide a date at which this whole ordeal will be over. He could let it go on for the rest of my days on earth if that is His intent. He doesn't owe me relief. But I do owe Him my life. I owe Him my trust, obedience, commitment, faithfulness and patience. He has saved me from my sins when I was deep in the midst of worldly living. I didn't deserve and couldn't obtain the forgiveness that He provided. Without my asking for it He sent His son so that I could enjoy the freedom of a life not run by sin and satan's power. All I had to do was accept the gift. How could I ask for anything more? He has given me the greatest and most precious gift I could ever imagine. Health, wealth, happiness - they are all fleeting in comparison to the salvation found in Jesus that promises eternal life in Heaven.
No matter what I suffer here on earth, it is temporary. There is no reason to have anything but patience. Life here is just a blink of an eye. It is not my forever. My eternal home is in Heaven. There I have a life of health and endless praise to the God who has sustained me earth side. Until I get there I will keep asking God for more of His will for my life here on earth - even if it requires much more patience.