Finding Joy and Patience Amid Struggles

Kim Sullivan

December 14, 2022

One of the most tedious battles in life can be dealing with the faults of your loved ones, day in and day out. Family members are the relationships with which we are most familiar, but they can also be the ones with which we become the most impatient. A husband leaves toothpaste encrusted on the sink, a wife spends money we don’t have, or the children are whining and complaining. Then there are the less menial trials of a wayward son or daughter, and wondering if they will ever return to the faith, or the parent living in our home because of dementia; we try to endure caring for them with a smile on our face. Trials abound on this side of heaven.

Trials abound, but God is faithful

We can have assurance from God that we are not forgotten. God is at work in this world and in the challenges that our families face day by day. God is faithful and he calls for us to be faithful as well.

But Hebrews 6:10-12 states, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”

Your patience is a work of love that is rewarded with the fulfilled promise of God! It brings hope, joy and maturity into your life, and what better promise to your future can there be than that?

Persevering in God's goodness

Biblical patience is nothing more than waiting for God’s goodness to be revealed with a joyful and grateful heart. James 1:2-4 says that we lack nothing when we allow perseverance to complete its work in us. That work is completed through only the testing of our faith, which isn’t always comfortable or pretty. Whether it be your spouse, children, parents, or siblings, few things try our faith and patience more than persevering in these relationships with joy. But when we do, we are promised wisdom and maturity. We are even promised that we won’t lack anything!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Patience flows from a heart of love

Love is patient. Patience is an attribute of love. When you are walking in love, you are walking in patience. Fortunately, we do not have to depend on our own personality for this God kind of patience, because he lives in us, and he is love! He equips and enables us to be pleasing to him with patient endurance no matter what our circumstances.

God equips us for the task

We are not expected to stand up to trials in our own strength. God has equipped us for the calling that he places before us. Colossians 1:9-12 encourages,

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

God blesses us with community

God has blessed us with the community of his church and called us to care for one another. We do better when we care for one another and allow others to care for us as well. If we set aside our pride, we can see better all of the resources that God has placed at our disposal. Pastors, counselors, friends, and church family can all help us navigate challenging seasons.

God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land (Psalm 68:6).

Living in God's joy is a gift

According to this passage of Scripture, we are strengthened with all power in his glorious might so that we can have patience. Our strength cannot hold up to our trials and tribulations with patience, but his can! How do we gain this strength to endure? God has given us the gift of his joy. The joy of the Lord is our strength” (Neh 8:10). Again, we see that joy is the key to responding beyond our human capabilities and with supernatural qualities, including patience.

Even though walking in patience with our families is difficult, the fruits of patience are well worth the effort. Patience produces maturity in our lives, and hastens the hope and expected end that God’s will has planned for us. Besides, it’s good to remember that our families have to put up with our faults and weaknesses too!

About the author — Kim Sullivan

Kim Sullivan is a writer with a background in everything from homeschooling to nonprofit management. She has raised three children each of whom are successful in their own unique way. Recently, Kim has done the most radical and risky thing she has ever done…she moved 700 miles from her suburban Chicago home and everything familiar to her and relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is working on a brand-new website and blogs at Journey to Epiphany. She is also writing a book about her adventures in following Jesus.

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