By Mr. Sangwoo Jung, MHS Bible Teacher
Let’s try to memorize “the fruit of Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23) together! (It was our school theme of the year 2019.) They are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” For me, the most difficult one to bear has been “patience.” When I eat Cup-ramen noodles, I don’t usually wait for the noodles to be cooked. I keep checking with my chopsticks if the noodle is cooked or not. (You see how impatient I am.) The problem is that I can see my impatience even in my prayer life; I tend to say, “How long? Lord, how long should I wait for my prayers to be answered?” I need to bear the fruit of patience in my life more seriously; if I don’t, I will be in trouble. I remember the king Saul didn’t wait for Samuel the priest to offer the sacrifices for Israel. Rather, he offered it by himself. As a result, he got kicked out of his king’s throne by God. It was his disobedience that led him to that tragedy, but his impatience was clearly shown in the troubled moment (Read 1 Samuel 13).
According to Lamentations 3:25-32, when we face suffering we should remember that “The Lord is good(v. 25) and compassionate”(v.32). Facing suffering does not mean that God has given up on us. As a matter of fact, suffering can produce patience, character, and hope (Romans 5:3-4) in our lives. Which means it produces perseverance in our character. And, in the middle of suffering, we find hope in God.
Therefore, how about changing our perspective on suffering right now? Being in suffering is never fun or pleasing but it is meaningful and useful. God can use sufferings in our lives for our good, especially for our holiness (cf. 1 Peter 4:1-2).
I want to close with a James’ word on patience. “Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return… For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy” (James 5:7-11, NLT).