October 7, 2008

Having Patience because of Faith in Future Grace

I have been slowly going through John Piper's book "Future Grace," and I mean slowly. I can really only read a couple paragraphs at a time and then have to soak it in for the rest of the day.
This morning in his chapter on patience, it hit home with me. Yesterday was a rather difficult day. After having my DH gone for a few days, I was so excited to have him home. I had missed him so much. My excitement toward him quickly faded, however, and turned into nagging and become stressed about how much I had to do. Needless to say, patience was nowhere to be seen in my heart towards him or my DD for that matter.

The gist of Piper's idea is this basically: if we were to trust that God was using all of our delays and detours in life for our good... such as a red light to prevent us from being in a car accident, or a telephone call in the middle of the night to awaken us to the smell of smoke in our house, perhaps we would be a bit more thankful for the hang-ups. Trusting in God's future grace.

He inserted a very interesting legend by Richard Wurmbrand that I had never heard before that illustrates a scenario that makes absolutely no sense to us humans... but was completely orchestrated by God.
A legend says that Moses once sat near a well in meditation. A wayfarer stopped
to drink from the well and when he did so his purse fell from his girdle into
the sand. The man departed. Shortly afterwards another man passed near the well,
saw the purse and picked it up. Later a third man stopped to assuage his thirst
and went to sleep in the shadow of the well. Meanwhile, the first man had
discovered that his purse was missing and assuming that he must have lost it at
the well, returned, awoke the sleeper (who of course knew nothing) and demanded
his money back. An argument followed, and irate, the first man slew the latter.
Where upon Moses said to God, "You see, therefore men do not believe you. There
is too much evil and injustice in the world. Why should the first man have lost
his purse and then become a murderer? Why should the second have gotten a purse
full of gold without having worked for it? The third was completely innocent.
Why was he slain?"
God answered, "The first man was a thief's son. The purse
contained money stolen by his father from the father of the second man, who
finding the purse only found what was due him. The third man was a murderer
whose crime had never been revealed and who received from the first the
punishment he deserved. In the future believe that there is sense and
righteousness in what transpires even when you do not understand."

God has promised to us over and over to do just and to be faithful to us. He has a plan, and we must have faith during situations that seem an inconvenience to us, or downright unjust. The key to patience is faith in the future grace of God's "glorious might" to transform all our interruptions to rewards.

For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. -- 2 Chron. 16.9

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. -- Ps. 23.6

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. -- Ps. 84.11

I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul. -- Jer. 32.40-41

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. -- Is. 64.4

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