Faith and Patience, Patience and Faith

What is Faith and How Does Patience Fit In? written in 2008

I’ve been giving faith and patience a bit of thought. After much reading and some intense recent experience, I would like to share my thoughts and those I’ve picked up from others.

This is not entirely my original work. I’ve read several Internet sources on this subject, found one that was particularly good and used it for ideas on writing my own. If that link is dead, then go here for my copy of his blog

I agree with others who say there are two parts to faith. Those two parts are belief and trust. Furthermore, I agree that they depend on each other.  In other words, they can cause each other to grow stronger. Belief will cause one to trust, if even a little bit. When God moves on your behalf and provides something that you’ve been trusting Him for, you will find that your belief becomes stronger. On the other hand, if we refuse to believe in God, there most certainly won’t be any trusting going on. If you have a sincere belief in God and consider yourself Christ’s disciple, then some amount of trust should result from that relationship. If we never give occasion to trust, then I don’t think that young and undeveloped belief will mature and we will remain a spiritual child.

Years ago this family began believing in God. One of our first examples of trust was when our son needed tubes in his ears. My wife and I felt very uncomfortable with that procedure. Trusting the Lord, we put it off for one weekend, waiting to see if the Lord would do something on our behalf. We went forward in church and prayed in the choir loft on a Sunday night. The next day we took our boy to the doctor and they said there was nothing wrong with his ears and tubes were not needed. He never had a problem with his ears again after that. This belief and trust event strengthened our belief.

A few years later we needed a house. We believed and we prayed that God would provide us with something we could afford and that would be His will for us. For two long years we prayed. We refused to use any method or cut any corners to hasten the purchase of a home. For one reason or another deals never materialized for homes we considered buying in North Dakota. We waited, very patiently we waited. Well, maybe not all that patiently, but we did wait. We didn’t have much option but to wait. The Lord had a plan; we just had to wait for it. We didn’t realize it at the time, but the Lord knew that we would be home schooling our children very soon. The Lord knew we needed a home and He knew it had to be in Minnesota.

In 1984 we had friends that started home schooling and I thought they were crazy for doing that. However, things started happening in our life that forced us to think about alternatives to organized Christian education. We gave home schooling a lot of thought during the summer and fall of 1985. His Spirit moved us to realize the importance of teaching our kids at home. Considering that we lived in North Dakota and the state was handing down jail sentences to home schooling parents, we knew that we had to move to Minnesota, which had much better home education laws. While focusing our home search in Minnesota, our son went back to the Christian school for the 1985/1986 year. His second grade year would be his last in a structured class setting. In a miraculous fashion, God provided a home for us in Minnesota in the spring of 1986. Thank God we did that. Thank God we waited until he gave us a home in a state that permitted home education. We faced more opposition from our church than we did from the government. Our trust grew.

Starting in 2007 the Lord began moving in our family again. Big changes were coming and it caught me completely off guard. I will write about this another time. Suffice it to say we were and are being called upon to wait and trust once again. Those events in the mid-80’s are helping us trust our God.

God wants our faith to grow. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him. The more faith we have, the more we please Him. The more we trust, the greater our belief becomes. For faith to grow, it must be put to the test. When our trust grows, we find ourselves developing a growing belief that God can be trusted.

Throughout God’s Word and human history we find examples of people depending on God. They have faith and then they trust. There are also a lot of examples where they have faith, but decide not to trust. Remember when the Israelites moved out of Egypt? There were many instances where God moved in tremendous ways, but the people kept doubting.  It almost seems that they believed the circumstances were different and decide not to trust. Maybe they just didn’t have the patience for waiting. I think that is where the rubber meets the road. I often wondered how they could doubt God after all they witnessed. However, I find I have the same weakness. I know that God has taken care of me before, but I sometimes find myself thinking this situation is different. If we tend toward being impatient, we might collapse under the strain of waiting. If we abandon ship, so to speak, the first place we tend to go is ourselves. We look for something we can see and put our brain around. We want to see results. “We’re going to get this done and move forward.” In reality, moving forward is best done by waiting and trusting in the Lord. This family has many memories of the Lord providing for us. Fortunately those will help us to trust again. So trust we will.

Patience is not being idle or lazy; it is waiting on the Lord and learning how to hear Him and know His leadership.  Patience is a fruit of God’s Holy Spirit and it’s something you should earnestly desire. Along with love, I think it is one of the finest Christian virtues.

So, ask yourself, “Do I have patience?” You probably have a pretty good idea whether you do or not. Patience is proven when your heart wants something so badly that you would do almost anything to get it, but you don’t. You continue to pray and your heart aches for the lack of what you want. You look up and your whole being yearns for this thing and you trust the Lord to provide it. When it comes, you’ll know it. You won’t have to wonder where it came from. You’ll know it was not a fruit of your labor, intelligence, wit or good credit. The next time you want to buy something, make it an issue of prayer and trust that God will provide it either on sale or used on Craigslist. Make yourself wait for it and see how that goes.

“Faith is praying, waiting and expecting. It is not doing and expecting” — Rodger Copp, 2015

I especially liked Dr. Leander Harding’s prayer:

“I pray that God will give us a renewed sense of His trustworthiness and that the Christian virtue of patience which is the fruit of trust in the Lord for His providence will grow in us. That all our actions and decisions individually or corporately will be sober, reverent and deliberate, and will be animated not by impatience, distrust and fear but by confidence in the Lord who will surely hold us up if we put our trust in Him.”

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