"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 2:5)
"He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth." (Isaiah 53:7)
Behold the infinite patience of Jesus!
Even among His own disciples, how forbearingly He endured their blindness, their misconceptions and hardness of heart! Philip had been with Him for three years — yet he had "not known Him" — all that time he had remained in strange and culpable ignorance of his Lord's dignity and glory! See how tenderly Jesus bears with him — giving him nothing in reply for his confession of ignorance — but unparalleled promises of grace!
Peter, the honored and trusted disciple — becomes a renegade and a coward. Justly might his dishonored Lord, stung with such unrequited love, have cut the unworthy cumberer down! But He spares him, bears with him, gently rebukes him, and loves him more than ever!
See the Divine Sufferer in the terminating scenes of His own ignominy and woe! How patient! "Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth!" In these dreadful moments, outraged Omnipotence might have summoned twelve legions of angels — and put into the hand of each a vial of wrath! But He submits in meek, majestic silence. Truly, in Him "patience had her perfect work!"
Think of this same patience with His people — since He ascended to glory. The years upon years He has borne with their perverse resistance of His grace, their treacherous ingratitude, their wayward wanderings, their hardness of heart and contempt of His holy Word. Yet, behold the forbearing love of this Savior God! His hand of mercy is stretched out still!
Child of God! Are you not undergoing some bitter trial? The way of your God, it may be, all mystery — no footprints of love traceable in the chequered path; no light in the clouds above; no bright ray in the dark future. Be patient! "The Lord is good to those who wait upon Him." "Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength!"
Or have you been long tossed on some bed of sickness — days of pain and nights of weariness appointed to you? Be patient! "I trust this groaning," said a suffering saint, "is not murmuring." God, by this very affliction, is nurturing within you this beauteous grace which shone so conspicuously in the character of your dear Lord. With Him it was a lovely habit of the soul. With you, the "tribulation" which works "patience" is needful discipline. "It is good for a man that he should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of God" (Lamentations 3:26).
Are you suffering some unmerited wrong or unkindness, exposed to harsh and wounding accusations, hard for flesh and blood to bear? Be patient! Beware of hastiness of speech or temper; remember how much evil may be done by a few inconsiderate words "spoken unadvisedly with the lip". Think of Jesus standing before a human tribunal, in the silent submissiveness of conscious innocence and integrity. Leave your cause with God. Let this be the only form of your complaint, "O God, I am oppressed — undertake for me!"
"In patience," then, "possess you your souls". Let it not be a grace for peculiar seasons, called forth on peculiar exigencies; but a habitable frame manifested in the calm serenity of a daily walk — placidity amid the little fretting annoyances of every-day life — a fixed purpose of the heart to wait upon God, and cast its every burden upon Him!
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