Patience is needed

Hope calls us to have Patience.
Reflection by Pastor Scott Arnold   11/3/2020
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
    (Romans 5:1-5)

    As I reflect today on Election Day, 2020, the key word that I have heard many people use is “patience”. The need for this Fruit of the Spirit is great, and the source for patience ultimately comes from God’s Holy Spirit. However, without prayer and faith, people are not very well tapped into the well of the Spirit.  Instead, the voices chant: “we want what we want when we want it”.  We hear and see people acting indecently and disrespectfully because their hope is misplaced, or their patience is not rooted in God’s Spirit of peace.
The fact is, at the root of recognizing that we need patience, there needs to be a sense of hoping for something better than what we already have. Hope in the presence of God leads us to belief, trust, discover, and experience transformation. Hope is what will help us to persevere and wait upon the strength, provision, and love of God to work in our lives and to work in this world. This election season and the COVID-19 pandemic has stretched our patience. The good news for those who place their hope in God, their hope that is rooted in the peace of God received through a faith relationship with Jesus Christ, is that this hope will be answered.  People of faith discover the grace and glory of God while sojourning through the patient journey of seeking that leads to finding God along the way. 
   Paul described this process of growth through patient hope by saying that we have access to God’s grace that will help us to withstand difficulties and disappointments. The hope is not in ourselves, but in the grace and glory of God that transforms our struggle into something powerful for our character and faith development. “ but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.”  The faith journey will involve suffering, yet by our faith, hope and love; it will produce inner strength and deeper resolve that is founded upon the sure hope God gives us. The things we used to hope for are replaced by the refined and clarified hope that God reveals and imparts to us.
    Much of what we once hoped for in our immaturity is replaced by what God teaches us to place our hope in through trust and obedience to wait upon Him and put His Kingdom first.
If anything, one would hope that Christians could once again learn not to place too much hope upon any one political leader, or any one political party. For indeed, the greater and lasting hope is in being disciples of Jesus Christ, citizens of God’s Heavenly Kingdom.  When we seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, then all the important things shall come into fruition.
   As I write this, I do not know the results of the election. I do know that Jesus Christ suffered and died for my sins and rose again triumphant. I do know that Jesus secured my election into the Kingdom of Heaven by patiently taking my sins upon himself, choosing to die for me, and faithfully defeating the powers of sin and death.  He chose you and me, will we choose to believe in Him and patiently pick up our cross daily and follow Him?
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)

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