Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Prayer for Longsuffering, Part VIII 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."

Patience in Affliction

Nor does patience oblige us to continue in afflictions when we may warrantably free ourselves from them. The eminent Puritan, Ezekiel Hopkins, rightly pointed out that when God sends heavy afflictions our way, we ought to, for principles of self-preservation, try to free ourselves from them; otherwise we sin against nature and God. Generally, whatever calamity we experience, it is not patience but obstinacy to refuse deliverance when we can obtain it without violating our duty or dishonouring God.

Positively, patience consists of a willing submission to the dispensations of divine providence. When Job said, 'Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?' (Job 2:10), that was the language of patience. 'The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?' (John 18:11) was the supreme example of this grace. It is the ready acquiescence of the soul to whatever God sees fit to lay upon it. It is the calm enduring of provocation and persecution, especially trial which comes unexpectedly. It is a steady and thankful bearing of all troubles, however grievous and long protracted, mortifying the opposite passions of fear, anger, anxiety, inordinate grief; refusing to be overwhelmed by those troubles, persevering in the discharge of duty to the end; relieving oneself by faith in what is to be had in God by communion with Him: resting in His love, leaning on His arms, and encouraging oneself by expectation of that eternal and blessed glory which awaits us after our appointed race is run.

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