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The Potter's Clay

Scripture, Theology, the Christian worldview, and other ramblings.

20 July 2005

Patience in bearing trials

Patience in bearing trials

This patience is twofold: (a) Either in regard to man, when we bear injuries without revenging, or (b) in regard to God, when we bear his hand without repining. A good man will not only do God's will, but bear his will: 'I will bear the indignation of the Lord' (Mic. 7:9). This patient bearing of God's will is not:

(i) A stoical apathy; patience is not insensitivity under God's hand; we ought to be sensitive.

(ii) Enforced patience, to bear a thing because we cannot help it, which (as Erasmus said) is rather necessity than patience. But patience is a cheerful submission of our will to God: 'The will of the Lord be done' (Acts 21:14). A godly man acquiesces in what God does, as being not only good but best for himself. The great quarrel between God and us is, Whose will shall stand? Now the regenerate will falls in with the will of God. There are four things opposite to this patient frame of soul:

(a) Disquiet of spirit, when the soul is discomposed and pulled off the hinges, insomuch that it is unfit for holy duties. When the strings of a lute are snarled up, the lute is not fit to make music. So when a Christian's spirit is perplexed and disturbed, he cannot make melody in his heart to the Lord.

(b) Discontent, which is a sullen, dogged mood. When a man is not angry at his sins, but at his condition, this is different from patience. Discontent is the daughter of pride.

(c) Prejudice, which is a dislike of God and his ways, and a falling off from religion. Sinners have hard thoughts of God, and if he just touches them on a sore spot, they will at once go away from him and throw off his livery.

(d) Self-vindication, when instead of being humbled under God's hand, a man justifies himself, as if he had not deserved what he suffers. A proud sinner stands upon his own defence, and is ready to accuse God of unrighteousness, which is as if we should tax the sun with darkness. This is far from patience. A godly man subscribes to God's wisdom and submits to his will. He says not only, 'Good is the word of the Lord' (Isa. 39:8), but 'Good is the rod of the Lord'.

--Thomas Watson, A Godly Man's Picture

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