On May 12, 2004, Dodger Alex Cora had an 18-pitch at-bat against Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Matt Clement. Facing a 2–1 count, Cora fouled off 14 straight pitches before finally hitting a home run. This required patience and concentration to keep looking for the good pitch while at the same time protecting the plate from that final strike that would end his chances of success.
Modern Christians have been conditioned by this society to want instant gratification in everything. We have microwaves that cook our food in seconds. But, that food is not nearly as good as grandma’s biscuits that took an hour or more to roll out the dough, cut it into shape, and bake in the oven. Some things are better when it takes longer.
I was amazed at how many verses talked about obtaining the promises of God after an extended wait. It is not that God just wants to torture us or see how long we will trust him; it is the development of endurance in our lives that He is interested in. It is to make us mature.
Romans 5:1-5 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Do you see the progression here? When we suffer, it produces endurance (patience). As we are patient, that produces character. Our society and churches could definitely use more character. As we develop character, we begin to have hope because we understand that this is God’s love being poured into our hearts. He is helping us grow up and understand that everything is not instant.
God does not want us to be lazy. He wants us to endure through faith in Him until we see the promises take effect. And, make no mistake, He does not forget the work you have done in His name:
Hebrews 6: 10-12 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Do not waver in your faith during these times of trying. Keep trusting Him and you will reap a reward of seasoned maturity in your spirit. All of us need more of this in our lives. As we grow in this, we will see more of the promises of God manifested in our lives. This is our confidence.
Hebrews 10:35 cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
Galatians 6:9 NIV Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
This is not a maybe. It says we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Perseverance will pay off. So, do not run from the things that are hard. You have heard that what does not kill you makes you stronger. If you are in a hard place today, do not fall prey to the temptation to lose your faith. Or worse, do not begin to blame God for putting you through it. Hold steadfast to the promises and you will come out on the other side a stronger, more mature individual who will be able to hold others up in their time of trouble.
How many foul balls are you willing to hit before you get the home run?