Friday, November 27, 2009

Prayer for Longsuffering, Part VII of X

Colossians 1:11-12
"Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness' giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light."

The Grace of Patience

Patience is not stoical apathy toward the divine dispensations. It is no narcotic virtue to stupefy us and take away the sense and feeling of afflictions. If it had any such opiate quality, there would be nothing commendable or praiseworthy in it. That is not suffering which is not to be patience. We have witnessed the mass of our fellowmen stupefied and insensible under the hand of God, taking no notice of Him when His judgments fell heavily upon them, enduring them with stolidity, or rather moral stupidity; but the senseless boast 'We can take it' was no more patience than is the non-writhing of a block of wood when it is sawed and planed. Patience quickens the sufferings of the saint, for he refers the sufferings to his deserts. Consciousness of his sins in provoking God pierces his conscience and brings pain to his inner man also. But the wicked look only upon what they suffer, and make no reflection upon their deserts.

Nor does the grace of patience stifle all modest complaints and moderate sorrow. A patient Christian is permitted this vent through which his grief may find relief. Grace does not destroy but regulates and corrects nature. God allows His children to shed tears so long as the course of them does not stir up the mud of their sinful passions and violent affections. It is not wrong to complain about what we suffer so long as we do not complain against God from whom we suffer. We may lawfully, and without any breach of patience, express our grief in all outward and natural signs of it so long as that agitation does not exceed its due bounds and measures. Job, who is commended to us as the great example of patience, when he received the sad news of the loss of his estate and his children, 'rent his mantle and fell down upon the ground' (Job 1:22). The disciples made 'great lamentation' over Stephen (Acts 8:2).

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