Run With Patience

“Let us run with patience” (Heb. 12:1).

O run with patience is a very difficult thing. Running is apt to suggest the absence of patience, the eagerness to reach the goal. We commonly associate patience with lying down. We think of it as the angel that guards the couch of the invalid. Yet, I do not think the invalid’s patience the hardest to achieve.

There is a patience which I believe to be harder–the patience that can run. To lie down in the time of grief, to be quiet under the stroke of adverse fortune, implies a great strength; but I know of something that implies a strength greater still: It is the power to work under a stroke; to have a great weight at your heart and still to run; to have a deep anguish in your spirit and still perform the daily task. It is a Christlike thing!

Many of us would nurse our grief without crying if we were allowed to nurse it. The hard thing is that most of us are called to exercise our patience, not in bed, but in the street. We are called to bury our sorrows, not in lethargic quiescence, but in active service–in the exchange, in the workshop, in the hour of social intercourse, in the contribution to another’s joy. There is no burial of sorrow so difficult as that; it is the “running with patience.”

This was Thy patience, O Son of man! It was at once a waiting and a running–a waiting for the goal, and a doing of the lesser work meantime. I see Thee at Cana turning the water into wine lest the marriage feast should be clouded. I see Thee in the desert feeding a multitude with bread just to relieve a temporary want. All, all the time, Thou wert bearing a mighty grief, unshared, unspoken. Men ask for a rainbow in the cloud; but I would ask more from Thee. I would be, in my cloud, myself a rainbow–a minister to others’ joy. My patience will be perfect when it can work in the vineyard. –George Matheson

“When all our hopes are gone,
‘Tis well our hands must keep toiling on
For others’ sake:
For strength to bear is found in duty done;
And he is best indeed who learns to make
The joy of others cure his own heartache.”

(From Charles E Cowman Devotionals – Streams in the Desert) 

In Everything

“In nothing be anxious” (Phil. 4:6).

No anxiety ought to be found in a believer. Great, many and varied may be our trials, our afflictions, our difficulties, and yet there should be no anxiety under any circumstances, because we have a Father in Heaven who is almighty, who loves His children as He loves His only-begotten Son, and whose very joy and delight it is to succor and help them at all times and under all circumstances. We should attend to the Word, “In nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

“In everything,” that is not merely when the house is on fire, not merely when the beloved wife and children are on the brink of the grave, but in the smallest matters of life, bring everything before God, the little things, the very little things, what the world calls trifling things–everything–living in holy communion with our Heavenly Father, arid with our precious Lord Jesus all day long. And when we awake at night, by a kind of spiritual instinct again turning to Him, and speaking to Him, bringing our various little matters before Him in the sleepless night, the difficulties in connection with the family, our trade, our profession. Whatever tries us in any way, speak to the Lord about it.

“By prayer and supplication,” taking the place of beggars, with earnestness, with perseverance, going on and waiting, waiting, waiting on God.

“With thanksgiving.” We should at all times lay a good foundation with thanksgiving. If everything else were wanting, this is always present, that He has saved us from hell. Then, that He has given us His Holy Word–His Son, His choicest gift–and the Holy Spirit. Therefore we have abundant reason for thanksgiving. O let us aim at this!

“And the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” And this is so great a blessing, so real a blessing, so precious a blessing, that it must be known experimentally to be entered into, for it passeth understanding. O let us lay these things to heart, and the result will be, if we habitually walk in this spirit, we shall far more abundantly glorify God, than as yet we have done. –George Mueller, in Life of Trust

Twice or thrice a day, look to see if your heart is not disquieted about something; and if you find that it is, take care forthwith to restore it to calm.–Francis De Sales

(From Charles E Cowman Devotionals – Streams in the Desert)

Don’t Fret

“Do not begin to be anxious” (Phil. 4:6, PBV).

Not a few Christians live in a state of unbroken anxiety, and others fret and fume terribly. To be perfectly at peace amid the hurly-burly of daily life is a secret worth knowing. What is the use of worrying? It never made anybody strong; never helped anybody to do God’s will; never made a way of escape for anyone out of perplexity. Worry spoils lives which would otherwise be useful and beautiful. Restlessness, anxiety, and care are absolutely forbidden by our Lord, who said: “Take no thought,” that is, no anxious thought, “saying what shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed?” He does not mean that we are not to take forethought and that our life is to be without plan or method; but that we are not to worry about these things. People know you live in the realm of anxious care by the lines on your face, the tones of your voice, the minor key in your life, and the lack of joy in your spirit. Scale the heights of a life abandoned to God, then you will look down on the clouds beneath your feet. –Rev. Darlow Sargeant
 
It is always weakness to be fretting and worrying, questioning and mistrusting. Can we gain anything by it? Do we not unfit ourselves for action, and unhinge our minds for wise decision? We are sinking by our struggles when we might float by faith.

Oh, for grace to be quiet! Oh, to be still and know that Jehovah is God! The Holy One of Israel must defend and deliver His own. We may be sure that every word of His will stand, though the mountains should depart. He deserves to be confided in. Come, my soul, return unto thy rest, and lean thy head upon the bosom of the Lord Jesus. –Selected

“Peace thy inmost soul shall fill Lying still!”

(From Charles E Cowman Devotionals – Streams in the Desert) 

Listening Hard for God

“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 19 :18).

Waiting upon God is necessary in order to see Him, to have a vision of Him. The time element in vision is essential. Our hearts are like a sensitive photographer’s plate; and in order to have God revealed there, we must sit at His feet a long time. The troubled surface of a lake will not reflect an object.
 
Our lives must be quiet and restful if we would see God. There is power in the sight of some things to affect one’s life. A quiet sunset will bring peace to a troubled heart. Thus the vision of God always transforms human life.

Jacob saw God at Jabbok’s ford, and became Israel. The vision of God transformed Gideon from a coward into a valiant soldier. The vision of Christ changed Thomas from a doubting follower into a loyal, devout disciple.

But men have had visions of God since Bible times. William Carey saw God, and left his shoemaker’s bench and went to India. David Livingstone saw God, and left all to follow Him through the jungles of dark Africa. Scores and hundreds have had visions of God, and are today in the uttermost parts of the earth working for the speedy evangelization of the heathen. –Dr. Pardington

There is hardly ever a complete silence in the soul. God is whispering to us well-nigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the world die out in the soul, or sink low, then we hear the whisperings of God. He is always whispering to us, only we do not hear, because of the noise, hurry, and distraction which life causes as it rushes on. –F. W. Faber

“Speak, Lord, in the stillness,
While I wait on Thee;
Hushed my heart to listen
In expectancy.

“Speak, O blessed Master,
In this quiet hour;
Let me see Thy face, Lord,
Feet Thy touch of power.

“For the words Thou speakest,
‘They are life,’ indeed;
Living bread from Heaven,
Now my spirit feed!

“Speak, Thy servant heareth!
Be not silent, Lord;
Waits my soul upon Thee
For the quickening word!”

(From Charles E Cowman Devotionals – Streams in the Desert) 

Wait Quietly

“And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise” (Heb. 6:15).

Abraham was long tried, but he was richly rewarded. The Lord tried him by delaying to fulfill His promise. Satan tried him by temptation; men tried him by jealousy, distrust, and opposition; Sarah tried him by her peevishness. But he patiently endured. He did not question God’s veracity, nor limit His power, nor doubt His faithfulness, nor grieve His love; but he bowed to Divine Sovereignty, submitted to Infinite Wisdom, and was silent under delays, waiting the Lord’s time. And so, having patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

God’s promises cannot fail of their accomplishment. Patient waiters cannot be disappointed. Believing expectation shall be realized.

Beloved, Abraham’s conduct condemns a hasty spirit, reproves a murmuring one, commends a patient one, and encourages quiet submission to God’s will and way. Remember, Abraham was tried; he patiently waited; he received the promise, and was satisfied. Imitate his example, and you will share the same blessing.–Selected

(From Charles E Cowman Devotionals – Streams in the Desert)

Ordering the Stops

“In waiting, I waited, for the Lord” (Ps. 40:1).

Waiting is much more difficult than walking.  Waiting requires patience, and patience is a rare virtue.  It is fine to know that God builds hedges around His people–when the hedge is looked at from the viewpoint of protection.  But when the hedge is kept around one until it grows so high that he cannot see over the top, and wonders whether he is ever to get out of the little sphere of influence and service in which he is pent up, it is hard for him sometimes to understand why he may not have a larger environment–hard for him to “brighten the corner” where he is.  But God has a purpose in all HIS holdups.  “The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord,” reads Psalm 37:23.
 
On the margin of his Bible at this verse George Mueller had a notation, “And the stops also.”  It is a sad mistake for men to break through God’s hedges.  It is a vital principle of guidance for a Christian never to move out of the place in which he is sure God has placed him, until the Pillar of Cloud moves.–Sunday School Times

When we learn to wait for our Lord’s lead in everything, we shall know the strength that finds its climax in an even, steady walk.  Many of us are lacking in the strength we so covet.  But God gives full power for every task He appoints.  Waiting, holding oneself true to His lead–this is the secret of strength.  And anything that falls out of the line of obedience is a waste of time and strength.  Watch for His leading.–S. D. Gordon

Must life be a failure for one compelled to stand still in enforced inaction and see the great throbbing tides of life go by?  No; victory is then to be gotten by standing still, by quiet waiting.  It is a thousand times harder to do this than it was in the active days to rush on in the columns of stirring life.  It requires a grander heroism to stand and wait and not lose heart and not lose hope, to submit to the will of God, to give up work and honors to others, to be quiet, confident and rejoicing, while the happy, busy multitude go on and away.  It is the grandest life “having done all, to stand.”–J. R. Miller

(From Charles E Cowman Devotionals – Streams in the Desert)

Hard Love

“When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was” (John 11:6).

In the forefront of this marvelous chapter stands the affirmation, “Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus,” as if to teach us that at the very heart and foundation of all God’s dealings with us, however dark and mysterious they may be, we must dare to believe in and assert the infinite, unmerited, and unchanging love of God.  Love permits pain.  The sisters never doubted that He would speed at all hazards and stay their brother from death, but, “When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.”
 
What a startling “therefore”!  He abstained from going, not because He did not love them, but because He did love them.  His love alone kept Him back from hasting at once to the dear and stricken home.  Anything less than infinite love must have rushed instantly to the relief of those loved and troubled hearts, to stay their grief and to have the luxury of wiping and stanching their tears and causing sorrow and sighing to flee away.  Divine love could alone hold back the impetuosity of the Savior’s tender-heartedness until the Angel of Pain had done her work.

Who can estimate how much we owe to suffering and pain?  But for them we should have little scope for many of the chief virtues of the Christian life.  Where were faith, without trial to test it; or patience, with nothing to bear; or experience, without tribulation to develop it?–Selected

“Loved! then the way will not be drear;
For One we know is ever near,
Proving it to our hearts so clear
That we are loved.

“Loved when our sky is clouded o’er,
And days of sorrow press us sore;
Still we will trust Him evermore,
For we are loved.

“Time, that affects all things below,
Can never change the love He’ll show;
The heart of Christ with love will flow,
And we are loved.”

(From Charles E Cowman Devotionals – Streams in the Desert) 

God is Not Unobservant

“I will be still, and I will behold in my dwelling place” (Isa. 18:4, RV).

Assyria was marching against Ethiopia, the people of which are described as tall and smooth.  And as the armies advance, God makes no effort to arrest them; it seems as though they will be allowed to work their will.  He is still watching them from His dwelling place, the sun still shines on them; but before the harvest, the whole of the proud army of Assyria is smitten as easily as when sprigs are cut off by the pruning hook of the husbandman. 

Is not this a marvelous conception of God–being still and watching?  His stillness is not acquiescence.  His silence is not consent.  He is only biding His time, and will arise, in the most opportune moment, and when the designs of the wicked seem on the point of success, to overwhelm them with disaster. As we look out on the evil of the world; as we think of the apparent success of wrong-doing; as we wince beneath the oppression of those that hate us, let us remember these marvelous words about God being still and beholding.

There is another side to this.  Jesus beheld His disciples toiling at the oars through the stormy night; and watched though unseen, the successive steps of the anguish of Bethany, when Lazarus slowly passed through the stages of mortal sickness, until he succumbed and was borne to the rocky tomb.  But He was only waiting the moment when He could interpose most effectually.  Is He still to thee?  He is not unobservant; He is beholding all things; He has His finger on thy pulse, keenly sensitive to all its fluctuations.  He will come to save thee when the precise moment has arrived. –Daily Devotional Commentary

Whatever His questions or His reticences, we may be absolutely sure of an unperplexed and undismayed Saviour.

“O troubled soul, beneath the rod,
Thy Father speaks, be still, be still;
Learn to be silent unto God,
And let Him mould thee to His will.

“O praying soul, be still, be still,
He cannot break His plighted Word;
Sink down into His blessed will,
And wait in patience on the Lord.

“O waiting soul, be still, be strong,
And though He tarry, trust and wait;
Doubt not, He will not wait too long,
Fear not, He will not come too late.”

(From Charles E Cowman Devotionals – Streams in the Desert)