Do you remember as child watching scary movies on TV? Remember when you just knew something really scary was about to happen how you would put your hands over your face and peer through your fingers at what was happening? I have no idea how seeing past fingers decreases the severity of something frightening but as kids that was usually our first response. We tried to block out as much of the screen as possible and just see what we had to see to know what was going on.
In similar fashion most folks approach the Book of Revelation. It can be a scary book, full of frightful events and scary beings. It’s the inevitable end of the world! Who could possibly witness that without putting their hands to face and peering through their fingers!!
Unfortunately, because of fear and trepidation the Book of Revelation tends to be avoided and many applicable messages are missed. Or even worse, folks read Revelations just for the scary bits and end time prophecies and overlook the principles and precepts being taught by John and Jesus Christ himself.
One of many precepts taught in the Book of Revelation is patience. Generally speaking we think of patience in terms of time. We think of it as the ability to let time lapse, to wait something out. But there is an additional aspect to patience of endurance. Equal in importance to time, endurance is our ability to maintain our composer and state of being during adversity extended over a prolonged period of time.
The final component to patience is the unknown. While we contend with time and adversity (trials and tribulations) we must also contend with not knowing when it will all end. A good simile would be comparing patience to a line as opposed to a line segment. In mathematics a line continues indefinitely while a line segment has a definite start and stop. We do not necessarily know when our trials and tribulations will end. We have to endure as time seems to slip by in perpetuity.
Often God gives us adversity to put our patience into play. Why? Because it is a test of our faith. Why would someone tolerate pain indefinitely with no relief in sight? They wouldn’t if it were not for faith in God and His word. The longer and or more intense the trial the more we should lean on God in faith and confidence.
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:2-3).
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7)
We also have to understand that all tests of faith are meant to strengthen our faith. To employ another simile trials are like working out. It is only by exertion and effort and working through some resistance do we grow stronger and get into shape. It is the same with our faith during times of adversity.
“He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints” (Revelation 13:10).
All of us during our life have seen evil powers in control. Whether at work or school or in national or international politics and government, we have witnessed evil works succeed. In Revelations we discover that the oppressor and the killer will be caught and killed. The saints, that is you and me must have faith in God and realize that the day will come for evil. Whether it is today, tomorrow or in the life after, God will deal with evil.
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12).
The patience of God’s people is to keep His commandments at all times under all circumstances. When we see evil win it can become discouraging. We sometimes wonder why do we even bother obeying God for what good does it do us? It seems that evil gets by with murder, both literally and figuratively and never gets caught.
John in Revelation is fully aware of the patience, endurance and struggles we must sometimes go through in maintaining our divine integrity. Keeping God’s commandments and staying in faith of Christ is a challenge. It is suppose to be. It is why Jesus repeats over and over again in Revelation, “To He that overcometh I will give…”
“There is a time for God’s people to exercise their faith and patience: patience, because they are like to wait for deliverance a long time, and to suffer many sharp things in the mean time; and faith, because their deliverance will be a thing out of sight, of which they will have no security but from the promise of God” (Matthew Poole).
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