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Patience

Read: 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

As we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. (v. 5)

Years ago, my wife noticed a peculiar phenomenon. Every time I got in line at the grocery store, a fast-food restaurant, or a border crossing, that line would grind to a halt. We tested her observation. When she chose the line, it proceeded smoothly. When I chose the line, it stopped. We jokingly concluded this must be God’s way of teaching me patience.

The New Testament Greek word we translate “patience” means literally, “to suffer long.” I am not naturally inclined to put up with any suffering—great or small—for any length of time. Paul and his fellow apostles, on the other hand, were well acquainted with suffering. Jesus prepared his disciples for suffering when he told them, “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master” (Matt. 10:24). For the apostles, following Jesus genuinely meant “suffering long.”

Our life in Christ does not always bring us the same measure of acute suffering. However, remaining faithful to Christ does mean committing to habits and disciplines whose costs are consistent and whose rewards are seldom immediate. It also means trusting in Christ’s love and faithfulness during times when our pain or sadness seem far more real than his presence. What good news it is, then, that all who share in Christ’s suffering also share in his comfort. By his Holy Spirit, Jesus comforts us with his presence and supernaturally equips us to “suffer long.” —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, thank God for his abundant comfort.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon is a pastor, husband, and father of two teenage daughters. He has served the First Christian Reformed Church of Detroit since 2008. He writes and produces video teaching on the Bible and Reformed creeds and confessions. His writing for Words of Hope includes series on Jeremiah, Exodus, and Work and Rest.