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Waiting on God's timing:

What does the Bible say about having patience in testing?

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Question:  I was entreating the Lord on behalf of my trial and he gave me John 11:6. I believe He was telling me that He is aware of my situation but will not take me out of the testing until the time He has determined so that He will be glorified. Maybe I am reaching but I don't know why else this verse would pop into my mind.

Response:  This is indeed a great verse/parallel for situations where God makes us wait. When one is under pressure, it is hard to remember that for God, a day is like a thousand years. It is also easy to shake our heads when we read of believers in the Bible not being patient enough to wait for God's deliverance, being critical as we sit in our arm chairs. But I know from personal experience that when the heat is turned up, a day can seem like a thousand years, and I find myself tempted to say, as in the Psalms, "How long, O Lord?" I need to start making a list of these passages/parallels. I had never thought of the Lazarus situation in this respect before, but it clearly is an excellent reminder that even when, from the human point of view, it looks for all the world like "the game is over", the decision has been rendered, and we were not delivered, still, as long as we are alive, there is reason to hope in God, because nothing is impossible for Him, not even raising the dead, not even bringing forth life from a man and woman in their 90's, not even sending His own Son into the world as a true man to die for us. It is very, very easy to lose the right perspective, especially when the pressure mounts and the time grows long, and the Abyss approaches. God let the Egyptian army get right to the point of deploying to destroy the Israelites before He made a way through that seemingly untraversable sea. It is sometimes hard to trust His timing. As I grow in the Lord, I am trying to take this perspective under pressure, trying to remember that we are all tested, trying to remember that I actually want to be tested, to enjoy the experience, to show my heart and my faith - this is not stuff for spiritual neophytes, but it is essential to get to a certain point of spiritual growth. I have learned a lot of things in my spiritual life by failing tests. I want to get to the point of learning some things through passing tests.

Thank you for your patience, faith and persistence. It really is a reminder to me that all our "brothers in the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering " (1Pet.5:9), and an example of the positive witness of keeping one's chin up at all times.

Please also see the following links which may be of help on this issue:

On the Firing Line:  Encouragement in Christian Trials.

Fighting the Good Fight of Faith.

Faith and Encouragement in the midst of Fiery Trials.

Encouragement, Isaiah 6:11-13, and the Hope of Repentance.

Encouragement in Christian Sufferings.

In need of encouragement.

Spiritual Resiliency.

The Peter Series: Coping with Personal Tribulation

You remain in my prayers for deliverance.

Your friend in Christ,

Bob L.

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