What does faith look like? I think of David facing the great giant Goliath, Daniel in the lion’s den, and Deborah galloping beside Barak into battle. I think daring and exciting.
Genesis 26 shows a different facet of faith—patience. Umm, that’s not very exciting.
God told Isaac He’d be with him and bless him. But Isaac forgot and lied to protect himself. After receiving God’s patience, Isaac learned to show patience.
Water was a precious commodity. Isaac dug a well; this caused a quarrel and a move. This was repeated again and again. How much of your life is spent fighting the same battles, or dealing with uncooperative people?
How many times…?
At 11:59 one night, a family member pulled out pots to cook, “Please, don’t leave food out to attract ants,” I said and headed to bed.
The next morning the major stuff had been cleaned up. But…two glasses, one with traces of almond milk, the other with sweet tea residue, a spoon with salsa, the spoon from the sweet tea, a sieve, measuring cup, and corn chip crumbs cluttered the counter—so did ants.
Was Isaac aggravated when other people’s actions repeatedly affected him?
My friend knows patience. Her broken foot has shackled her to a wheelchair, but not relieved her of her duties to her granddaughters, chronically ill son, and husband. Basic survival has eaten up the time and energy she wanted to devote to her career project.
When God recorded Isaac’s tedious drama, He showed us setbacks and inconveniences aren’t a waste of time. They showcase faith. Patience is a feat worth recording in Scripture. Sometimes faith shines through daring exploits. Other times it quietly glows in patience.
Isaac learned patience first by receiving it from God. Second, he remembered God’s promises.
- We’re not home, yet.
God promised Isaac the land would one day belong to him and his descendants, but not yet. We’re also aliens in this land and have awesome promises for our future (1 Pet. 2:11). So don’t waste time whining when you encounter adversity, unfairness, and even hostility. Move on. God will set all things right—on His timetable, not ours.
- We’re not alone, ever.
Isaac knew God would take care of him. He didn’t let his quarrelsome neighbors and repeated moves dampen his hope. “The Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land,” (Gen. 26:22, NASB). And he was. So fruitful that the king feared Isaac and asked for a covenant.
On a one to ten patience scale, with ten representing the patience of Job, and one the patience of a tired two-year-old wanting a toy, I’m a three and a half. For me, patience really is an exploit of faith.
God is still recording stories of faith. He captures them through the eyes and in the hearts of your children, grandchildren, and coworkers. Like Isaac, your patience shows them what faith looks like.
Question: Do you think patience demonstrates faith? Why or why not?
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Deborah W. Wilson
Picture by: Fried Dough
I love the way you put it – patience is trusting God to set all things right in His time.
It’s so freeing when you place your faith in the All Mighty God.
It is freeing, Susie. I wonder why sometimes we have to wrestle so much to do it!
Michelle Gewin says
Thank you for this Debbie! This is definitely what God is teaching me…and your post was timely and perfect. Thank you. Yes, patience is an expression of faith. It requires me to look beyond what I am feeling (or want to feel) and experiencing (or what I wish I could be experiencing) to believe God’s word and truth…..That is the essence of faith. Counting it joy is an act of the will,very often , contrary to the feelings that make me so impatient to begin with, so that patience can have its perfect work.
Michelle, You are so right. God helps us choose to count it joy whether we feel it or not. I need to remember that!
I think in many cases patience can be a sign of faith, but I don’t think that patience with other people’s irresponsibility or abuse is patience. I would call it fear. Of course, that depends on the situation. I’m thinking of a situation where I know someone is being “abused” at work and they should have left, but they haven’t even applied for another job. Fear of the unknown is keeping them in a bad situation. This may look like patience from the outside, but it’s really fear.
Thanks for the reminder that we need to be patient because God doesn’t always work on our microwave timeline!
Have a Victorious Day!
I agree, Marianne. Patience isn’t passivity.
Keita Ikeda says
It has not been a passive activity in my opinion. It has been all I could do not to explode. However, in due time, all will reach God’s intended purpose, even if it means our troubles on earth is only solved by our home-going.
Keita and Marianne, you’ve brought out good points. Patience is related to endurance and perseverance, as James 1 shows. It is active. Being paralyzed by fear may look like patience to an onlooker, but is not related to faith.
Ann Musico says
I absolutely agree that patience demonstrates faith. I also admit that I fail more than I succeed in successfully exercising patience. You always make me stop and think.
Thanks, Ann. Patience definitely is an exercise of faith for me.
Yvonne Ortega says
Debbie, patience is definitely related to faith, and sometimes I I lack both. I pray and want an answer yesterday. I tell God not to take a thousand years to answer me just because a thousand years to him is like a day. To me a thousand years means I’ll be long gone from this earth, and I don’t want to wait until heaven to get an answer.