“When the sea is full, it will ebb again; and so soon as the wicked come to the top of their pride and are waxed high and mighty, then is their change approaching; they that believe make not haste... If you can possess your soul in patience, their day is coming.”
~Samuel Rutherford (1600–1661)
There’s hardly a more solid lesson within the theology of life than attributing the end for those against us; their day is coming. But it can only come if we get out of the way. The Lord will see to it that their justice is brought swiftly into play—and we may well cringe at the likeness of it. The insulter stands already condemned.
The centrality of the Gospel message is in patiently bearing the insults that are thrown against our faces, just like they were thrown against Jesus’ face. As we absorb the sting of such forceful blows we bellow our disconsolation silently before our God who hears these unsaid pleas. This bellowing is the echo in our spirit; nothing is said but God knows when we’ve been reproached.
Once Is The Most Powerful Experiment
The Lord requires our obedience to this end, to bear patiently the insults, just once. Just once will it take for us to see the power of the risen Lord Jesus in seconding heaven’s grace at the will of our fortitude to bear well the moment.
By our refusal to repel the attack, the attacker stands condemned.
Just once, genuinely practiced, with not a skerrick of ill feeling toward the insulter, and as we wait patiently, observing for the movement of the Lord, we’ll be shown the power that judges. This is power of God to make right our cause, in casting our aspersions only before God in prayer, finds us strangely vindicated. Just once, a solid form of obedience, and we do see the value of faith in God.
God will make all things right.
Patience Is All That’s Required
The biblically faithful life, one home to obedience, is tested only by patience; to bear quietly, within ourselves and within our prayers, every rich sense of suffering.
Many who would sit on the fence of faith may not well see the prize for patience; to suffer well. They might secretly find the logic of Jesus wanting. They’re unconvinced. They’ve not tried the Gospel morality for fit. The values of the Gospel make so much sense at one level but they cannot live it—not in becoming ‘a doormat’.
Being a doormat is hardly the point. Glorifying the kingdom of heaven is every bit the point. The insults are not about us at all—they’re God’s business.
Patience is the spiritual quality of heaven. It splits us apart from our world in a way that the world can no longer harm us. If the world cannot goad us by insult it has no power over us, and we are won, most solemnly, to God alone. Life has just now begun.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.