Today is the next segment in our series. I’m happy to bring you the post of another cyber-friend, Sandra Heska King. Be sure hop over and visit her site, SandraHeskaKing.com.
Patient in Tribulation
“. . . patient in tribulation . . .” Romans 12:12b (NKJV)
My apologies to the men in the audience, but as I studied and meditated on these three words, my mind returned again and again to this example, flawed as it may be.
Many women of a certain age go bravely each year into a place where men dare not go. Where we willingly place a portion of our body on an ice cold altar to be pressed and crushed between two plates.
At some point, the vise releases, only to readjust and squeeze again. We are asked to grab a support and lean into it, and we remain in place, abide the stress, because we know that “this, too, shall pass.”
We have hope that we will pass the test and prove clean. Or that the films will expose bumps and lumps that the doctor can remove before they cause extensive damage.
Okay, so maybe it’s not a perfect illustration. In the scheme of things, really, a mammogram is just a minor discomfort, an inconvenience.
The tribulation Paul talks about is thlipsis, and literally means a pressing together. It carries the idea of stomping grapes to make wine or even mashing potatoes to create something delicious.
It’s big-time life stuff. Affliction. Crushing circumstances. Things that test our character and our faith. Things that tempt us to run from the only One Who supports us. Things allowed by the One Who wants us to shine like diamonds.
And what about patience? That’s hupomone and means to abide, stay, and remain under. To bear calmly and with courage. It’s also translated as perseverance and endurance. We don’t resign ourselves to a bad situation, but we face it knowing that God will ultimately turn it into something good.
It’s hanging in and hanging on. It’s the starch in our spines that bears us up. It’s discipline and a perspective that allows us to see sorrow tinged with glory.
It’s Beethoven’s resolve when he faced his deafness and stated in a letter that he would “seize Fate by the throat; it shall not bend or crush me completely.”
It’s Derek Redmondwho leaned on his father and hobbled across the finish line in excruciating pain to complete his race.
Amy Carmichael wrote in Candles in the Dark that “the best training is to learn to accept everything as it comes, as from Him whom our soul loves. The tests are always unexpected things, not great things that can be written up, but the common little rubs of life, silly little nothings, things you are ashamed of minding one scrap. Yet they can knock a strong man over and lay him very low.”
And anyway, it’s not like we shouldn’t expect tribulation. Jesus said we’d face it.
“These things I have spoken to you, that you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV)
But we can rejoice in and through the hard times because we have hope.
“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” (2 Cor. 4:16-18 Msg)