The Patience of Job
by Yvonne Thomas
Patience. Long-suffering. Forbearance. Whichever word you prefer to use, they all mean being tolerant and uncomplaining in spite of troubles, slow to anger, and able to show restraint. Patience is just one of the nine attributes of the “Fruits of the Spirit” that we should be actively presenting in our daily lives.
Take for example the book of Job. We have all heard the idiom, “You have the patience of Job,” a phrase that came about based on the extreme amount of suffering Job had to endure. He lost all of his children and his wealth in a single day. He then was covered in painful sores (Job 2:7). His wife encouraged him to give up, curse God, and die (Job 2:9). In
addition to that, his friends falsely accused him of wrongdoing and blamed his troubles on his unrepentant heart.Job was a believer. He did not know why so many terrible tragedies were happening in his life. But through it all, he patiently endured (Job 2:10). He never lost his faith in God, even though these circumstances tested him to his core. The Lord then blessed him with twice as much as he had before (Job 42:10). This is the patience that we should all have despite what we are going through. Romans 8:18 says, “Our pain that we are feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.” God sees far more than we can see. He sees lessons that we need to learn that are beyond our understanding. He will bring us to places just to show us to trust Him. We may not know what He is doing in the background or how He is going to work it out, but we do know that nothing happens by chance. He is always present and always in control. His plan for our lives is always better than ours!
That term “the patience of Job” has been used on several occasions to describe how I have personally handled situations in my life. I may not have lost everything in one day (property, possessions and children) as Job did, but like so many of you out there, I have lost my home, my marriage, my job, my family, my friends, my possessions. I am also a domestic abuse survivor. I had to walk away from everything — my job, my family and friends and material possessions, to start all over in life after working so hard to accomplish all that I had. It took years to get back on my feet, struggling along the way as a single parent of three, and just as I thought I was finally doing well, I was once again in a similar position starting over again after yet another failed marriage with two more children in tow. The one thing that remained constant during these tests was my trust and patience in waiting on God to step in and work out my situation according to His will and purpose. The second time around was easier because I knew that if he did it once before, then He could surely do it again! I only had to be still and allow God to fight that battle for me (Exodus 14:14).
My faith has been tested countless times over and over again through the years. I have been through enough challenges and trials to have the strongest person depressed and suicidal. But I have come to realize that sometimes life puts us in these situations. We don’t always get to pick the situations we go through, but we can choose how we handle them. I continue to keep my head lifted up with a smile on my face, resting assured that “even though anxiety is great within me, His consolation brings joy to my soul” (Psalms 94:19).
The account of Job’s life is one that encourages us when we are facing discouraging and traumatic experiences, challenges and struggles, trials and tribulations. His story helps us learn to trust God patiently while waiting on Him to work things out in our life. Persevering and pushing forward, praising Him along the way until he shows up on time as He always does. Sometimes we may never find out exactly why we were put through so much suffering, but we must be patient and trust Him anyway because His ways are perfect. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). It is our responsibility to obey Him, trust Him and Submit to His will, whether we understand it or not. So ask yourself, will you be a person that is easily set off when things go wrong in your life or will you have the patience of Job and be able to keep a godly perspective in the face of life’s challenges?
Yvonne Thomas lives in Lafayette, LA, and is president and founder of the nonprofit Yvonne Thomas Foundation, which inspires, encourages and mentors young women through private sessions, guest speaking, seminars, and cooking and etiquette classes. She volunteers regularly for community events, and has authored two short stories — Letter To My Husband (released April 2017) and Letter To My Wife (to be released December 2017).