Vol. 3, No. 9
What a beautiful day! From my vantage point, the horizon was framed beneath with green trees and a magnificent, perfect blue sky above. Puffy white clouds accented the sky and a friendly, warming sun shone overhead. A gentle, cool breeze complemented this delightful panorama.
Adding to my appreciation of the day, former days were much less stunning. Though the calendar pages signaled the passing of seasons, the previous winter left only stubbornly, and it seemed that spring likewise gripped us jealously. When finally the lingering snow (upper Ohio River valley) and the relentless rain subsided, summer arrived in a fury of heat and humidity.
This day, though, all that for now at least, was merely a memory. After all, August is expected to be hot and humid here. However, for a while, this day and perhaps a few coming, was flawless.
Doubtless, even a beautiful day such as this would appear less promising if I were encountering hurtful circumstances, which I was not. I was not hungry (perhaps too well fed). I was not suffering. No worries especially pressed me or prompted any anxiety (though of course we all have anxious moments occasionally). I had a place to live and clothes to wear. My family was healthy and happy. All of my immediate family faithfully practiced primitive Christianity. I had purpose in life for now and eternity. I was happy, which was not a bad disposition through which to view the world.
It was true, though, that not everyone shared the same enthusiasm for that day. For instance, I saw a funeral procession go by. Also, I heard about two tragic traffic accidents. Life goes on and it is not always pleasant.
Others that day found themselves gainfully employed. Somewhere, doubtless, a mother gave birth. Somewhere, a bride and a groom exchanged marriage vows. Somewhere, a child rejoiced at a birthday party.
Essentially, on such a day as this, people throughout the world were doing all the things they ordinarily do. On such a day as this, our dear Lord will return as Savior and with consoling arms pull his faithful followers into a loving embrace (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). For others, Jesus will appear as a wrathful judge to punish the unbelieving and disobedient (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Whether overcast, snowy, rainy or amidst sunshine, Jesus will come when man least expects him.
"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 24:36-51).
Or, on such a day as this, we will breathe our last and depart the familiar scenes of this life, family and pursuits (Luke 12:16-21).
"Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live" (James 4:13-16).
The big question, of course, is: "Will we be ready?"
"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" (1 Timothy 4:6-8).
By Louis Rushmore
Patience is a godly quality that each child of God should develop. ". . . O man of God . . . follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness" (1 Timothy 6:11). Patience in the life of a Christian is pleasing to God and contributes to personal happiness.
"That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness" (Colossians 1:10-11).
The development of patience often occurs by enduring unpleasant circumstances.
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience" (James 1:2-3).
One word translated "patience" literally means "abiding under"; another word translated "patience" or "longsuffering" is defined as "long tempered." Patience, then, is learning to live with inconveniences and difficult moments.
The apostle Paul taught Christians at Rome that proper reaction to life's difficulties can result in patience. Therefore, these unpleasant circumstances are not to be despised. ". . . we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience" (Romans 5:3).
Paul also taught the Thessalonians to "be patient toward all men" (1 Thessalonians 5:14). Further, patience is especially useful to the Christian as he WAITS for the return of Jesus Christ.
"Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh" (James 5:7-8).
Patience also helps the Christian successfully practice Christian living and prepares him for eternal life. "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life" (Romans 2:7).
If life's difficulties can result in building patience, and if this patience helps one better endure life and leads to eternal life, then the difficult moments in our lives might be viewed as steps to heaven. As hard as it may be sometimes, all of us need to patiently endure life as we wait for the return of Jesus Christ.