The Reward of Patience
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
“You’re having problems? No problem.” That’s what I try to tell myself when I begin to feel overwhelmed. And then I remind myself that the only people I am aware of who don’t have troubles are gathered in peaceful, little neighborhoods. There is never a care, never a moment of stress, and never an obstacle to ruin a day. All is calm. All is serene. Most towns have at least one such worry-free zone. We call them cemeteries. But if you’re still breathing, you have difficulties. It’s the way of life. And believe it or not, most of your problems may actually be better for you than you think. Let me explain.
Maybe you have seen the Great Barrier Reef, stretching some 1,800 miles from New Guinea to Australia. Tour guides regularly take visitors to view the reef. On one tour, the guide was asked an interesting question. “I notice that the lagoon side of the reef looks pale and lifeless, while the ocean side is vibrant and colorful,” a traveler observed. “Why is this?”
The guide gave an interesting answer: “The coral around the lagoon side is in still water, with no challenge for its survival. It dies early. The coral on the ocean side is constantly being tested by wind, waves, storm-surges of power. It has to fight for survival every day of its life. As it is challenged and tested it changes and adapts. It grows healthy. It grows strong. And it reproduces.” Then he added this telling note: “That’s the way it is with every living organism.”
That’s how it is with people. Challenged and tested, we come alive. Like coral pounded by the sea, we grow. Physical demands can cause us to grow stronger. Mental and emotional stress can produce tough-mindedness and resiliency. Spiritual testing can produce strength of character and faithfulness (James 1.2-4).
Life, love, toil with a will;
Place no faith in tomorrow
For the hands may then be still.
To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,
To lose one’s health is more,
To lose one’s soul is such a loss
That no man can restore.