“Patience is more than endurance. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says–‘I cannot stand anymore.’ God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God’s hands. Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith. ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.'”
I can remember filling out personality surveys, and whenever they asked the question, “Are you patient while waiting?” I always pictured myself sitting in a doctor’s office. Reading a book while waiting for my name to be called: this was what I pictured as having patience. Essentially, I only viewed patience as simply being content while waiting.
But what does patience really mean and, therefore, imply? I read that quote by Oswald Chambers, and I was struck by the image of being an arrow in the bow of an archer. Reading this made me think of that medieval contraption that tortured a person by stretching him. First of all, I can never EVER imagine suffering that torture, but isn’t that what this quote is saying that we must do while waiting on God’s perfect timing? We must allow ourselves to be stretched and stretched even though it feels like torture. In this way patience is suffering.
So if patience is suffering, what is impatience? If we’re arrows in God’s bow, we can’t say to God, “Alright, God, I’m not going to be an arrow anymore. I think I’ll just jump down and out of your hands.” No sir! If God has us in His bow, trust me, He is not going to let us go. Therefore, if we want to be impatient, the only thing that we can do is writhe in pain–kick, scream, and wave our arms. Whenever we are kicking and flailing our arms, though, we only make the stretching and contortion of our body worse. We experience even more pain trying to get out of His bow rather than if we had just remained calm and trusted that He was sighting His aim perfectly.
This is what it means to be patient: to be content while enduring suffering for we know that God is preparing us for something great. The more that we suffer means that we are being stretched even more. By being stretched even more, we are sent even farther once the Archer releases the bow.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” says the Lord. “Plans for a future and for a hope.” This is what we are promised in Jeremiah 29:11. God has a plan for us, a course of direction. The only question now is this: will we be patient while He sights His aim. Will we writhe, or will we prepare ourselves for the release of His bow–the journey of great speed and direction that follow that resounding sound… Snap