, Muskogee, OK

November 21, 2012

Fort Faith: Gaining patience is frustrating but rewarding

— By Barrett Vanlandingham

As a parent and youth minister I have tried to come up with answers for kids who just want to know “Why?”

For that matter, we adults still spend a lot of time looking for that answer. The fact is that some things will never make sense no matter how much we try to understand. For me, Algebra is a good example of that.

Besides the basic math skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions, my family tends to do better when we stick to reading, writing, and the performing arts.

Maybe you’ve also heard a child question what good will ever come out of learning many of those difficult mathematical concepts. And with a few exceptions, I would tend to agree.

The answer I typically give after trying to show some degree of compassion is simply that they may or may not ever use those math facts again.

But one thing is for sure. As Christians, we will face trials in life that far surpass any frustration experienced in math or any other kind of class that challenges us beyond the norm.

My “go to” passage for dealing with this issue comes from the New Testament.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4).”

One of the qualities of the Holy Spirit that we are to imitate is patience. It takes a lot of everything including patience to stick with something (or persevere) when things get tough. The problem for most of us is that the trials we must go through in order to gain patience can be very difficult.

But if the immature do not learn to weather the storms that blow-in the gift of patience, then they will find it extremely difficult to survive in the grown-up world.

Adults know that patience is necessary when it comes to dealing with daily life that often brings frustrations. But more importantly, patience is needed carry out the Lord’s desire for us to save souls.

Jesus said, “Therefore, go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you (Matthew 28:19-20).”

  Christians are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Can you imagine accomplishing this without patience? Many have tried unsuccessfully.

Pray that God allows us to use our trials to develop patience, and that souls will be saved as a result. Have a great week!

Reach Barrett Vanlandingham at the Fort Gibson Church of Christ at (918) 478-2222 or