Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Patience on the Road to Glory

S-1064 7/20/08 9SAP/3A (O) #5; (S) #518; (C) #516

Texts: Isaiah 44:6-8; Romans 8:18-27; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Theme: “Patience on the Road to Glory” Romans 8:18-19


Question: “Are you a patient person?

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the book of Romans. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:18-19).


Saints in Christ, a week ago Saturday was one of those days that I needed all the patience in the world. I flew from Spokane, WA after finishing speaking at Shoshone Base Camp and arrived at the Denver airport in good time—4:00 p.m. Having had lunch I waited for my flight to take off. Getting to the proper gate, I read the notice, “FLIGHT TO SIOUX FALLS IS DELAYED.” “O Lord”, I said. I walked up to the counter and asked how long of a delay? The agent responded saying, “We should have an update by 8:03 p.m.” Keep in mind that was the time I was supposed to leave Denver. I reviewed my sermon for Sunday. I had a bite to eat, and I waited and waited. I prayed to the Lord for patience. At 8:03 the agent announced there is good news and bad news. The good news is that the mechanics fixed the plane. The bad news is the pilot who is going to fly our plane was in Sioux Falls. O brother was the groans of all who were waiting for the flight to depart. We were also informed that we will leave by 10:30 and should be home by 12:00. Great I thought, I could still make it in time home and be ready for the privilege to preach the Word of the Lord. I decided to take a little nap so that I don’t have to drive tired when I get into Sioux Falls. About 10 at night, the agent announced the REALLY BAD news, that the flight was cancelled. You should have been there and you would have heard the groans of the passengers to be. We were told to go to the Service Counter and they will tell us what is next. I prayed for more patience. Now it is getting later. I am tired. I will not be preaching in the morning. But church service will go on. By the grace of God things worked out. I was shuttled to a hotel, got few hours of sleep and didn’t get home till 6:00 p.m. the next day. Almost 24 hours later than planned.

Patience on the journey was needed. But patience was not what I had. I was groaning, complaining and asking God why it has to happened to me and get stuck in Denver? Why couldn’t the flight leave on time? Was there only one pilot that could fly the plane?

In an age of “instant gratification” people (including your pastor) find it hard to wait. But “wait patiently” is what Christians are told to do when we are burdened by trials, temptations and troubles. We are told to be patient whenever we are burdened and oppressed by trials and sufferings of all kinds.

We are so accustomed at having everything at our fingertips. If the internet is not working fast we begin to tap our fingers for patience. If the instant message doesn’t go through, we have a hard time waiting. We hate to wait in the check out line, food line and doctors office. Waiting is not what we do well. But waiting is part of the process that God gives us to help us trust Him totally.

God’s whole creation has been crippled by the effects of sin. And Christians are not immune to these troubles. Even though we have become children of God through faith in Jesus, our Lord and Savior—the redemption of our bodies is still unfulfilled. That means they continue to fall into sin. And they experience disease and handicaps of all kinds. Sin and its consequences are evident in the life of every follower of Jesus.

But the promise of God is that a day is coming when also the physical world will be set free from the effects of sin. “That [all of] creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (vs. 21).

You probably have known the anguish of waiting to be freed from this bondage due to the difficulties in your life, whether it is arthritis, bad hearing, bad sight, sickness of every kind. Indeed, our own bodies cry out for that day of redemption. So for now we wait patiently for these things. We wait in the knowledge that God will most certainly keep the promises He has made for us.

Being patient in time of trouble will not take away the trouble, the trials or the temptations. But as we wait in faith and hope, our attitude toward our trouble can change. Not by our own doing, but putting our trust in God alone that He might use these events in our lives to bring us to Him and find our fulfillment in Him ALONE.

Through the aid of the Holy Spirit, we see the troubles as part of God’s righteous judgment on a world of sin. We see it as temporary. We see it as something that will end when God completes that work of redemption that has already freed us from the guilt of our sins.

How patient are we while we wait? Patience is certainly not easy. Hours, weeks, days and years of suffering and sorrow go by very slowly. Sometimes the loss is overwhelming we can hardly think about anything else. Who can be patient in such circumstances?

Consider the saints of the past, Joseph was put in a pit, sold into slavery, was in prison and separated from his family for 20 years. Yet, he waited patiently for God’s goodness in his life. He served as the 2nd in command of Egypt. Moses waited patiently for God to deliver the Israelites from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. For 40 years he heard the groans and moans of the delivered people from slavery in the wilderness and finally he got to see the Promised Land. David, after being anointed by Samuel, waited patiently for years to be delivered from the pursuits of Saul. And in time, God made him the King over His people. God gives the strength to wait patiently to bring to fruition His plans of salvation.

Paul, in this text, points us not to our suffering but to our Savior, Jesus Christ. For the more we read these Words, we realize that God gives us encouragement for the journey ahead even as we go through the immediate suffering, it doesn’t compare to the glory that awaits us. The more we concentrate on the cross of Christ, the more we are able to endure the suffering.

Thank God Jesus was perfectly patient while He walked the dirty roads of Galilee with His disciples. He was patient in guiding and leading the lost throughout His earthly ministry. He was patient in granting us to see what He came to do—suffer and die in our place. He was patient—perfectly patient even as He hung on the cross to die in our place. His patience is evident even today, as He grants others the opportunity to hear the message of the Resurrection and the Life. What a patient God we have. His patience is still evident today because He is still giving people time to repent before it is too late.

Remember, what happened to me a week ago Saturday. I was STUCK in Denver. But I made it home. I walked into my house and saw my lovely wife and son. What a glorious sight that was. Even though I was tired, and late when I got home, I forgot all of my pains and difficulties. So it will be when we get to heaven. The suffering in this world will not compare to what awaits us.

And while we wait, we remember our faithful God who leads us from slavery to eternity along a wilderness road marked with the sure promises of salvation and lighted by the cross of Christ. Our faithful God meets and gives us our greatest needs—the forgiveness our sins. We have this need and we suffer like this because we are waiting patiently. We are waiting patiently, and sometimes not so patiently, for the redemption of our bodies. Like most children, we don’t always like to wait. But we have our faithful ABBA Father’s word that what we are waiting for is well worth it. For because of Jesus a day is coming when all of the suffering we face from living in a broken world well be a swiftly forgotten memory. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Now the peace…

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