Patience includes perseverance

Published 8:14 am Wednesday, October 25, 2023

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: On a visit to Israel, I stood on the knoll of the mountain where Jesus preached His most famous Sermon on the Mount. I always had difficulty reconciling Jesus’ teaching of love and forgiveness to those who oppose us and work to destroy us as Christians in a hostile world until I realized that this helps mold us more into His likeness. Is this a fair understanding? – P.P.

Dear P.P.: Patience includes perseverance – the ability to bear up under weariness, strain, and persecution when doing the work of the Lord. This is the context of following Jesus’ instruction to love our enemies and bless them that curse and hate us (see Matthew 5:44), and pray for them that despitefully use us and persecute us (see Matthew 5:12, 44). This can only be done through the power that God grants to His people through obedience to Him.
There was a man who lost his job, a fortune, his wife, and his home. But he tenaciously held to his faith – the only thing he had left. One day he stopped to watch some men doing stonework on a huge church. One of them was chiseling a triangular piece of stone. “What are you going to do with that?” asked the man. The workman said, “See that little opening way up there near the spire? I’m shaping this down here so it will fit up there.”
Tears filled the man’s eyes as he walked away, for it seemed that God had used the workman’s explanation to help him understand the ordeal through which he was passing. He felt the Lord was showing him that he was being shaped down here so he would be fit for Heaven.
“May the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:10).
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(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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