Patience

Patience, patience, patience. The Lord has been trying to teach me patience for as long as I have known Him. I’m not a very good student in this area – I want what I want and I want it right now. When I pray for someone to be healed, I want it right now. When I pray for someone to be rescued, I want it right now. I want and expect answers to my prayers RIGHT NOW. So what happens when the answer doesn’t come as I expect it right now? I get impatient. Sometimes I get irritable. And sometimes I get downright frustrated.

This morning the Lord led me to Isaiah 38:1-5. This little story of healing is so amazing. Here was Hezekiah on his deathbed and he turned to the Lord and cried out for healing, reminding the Lord of all of the good he had done in his lifetime. And the Lord heard Hezekiah and granted him fifteen more years of life. Isn’t that awesome? Yet I can’t help but wonder about those next fifteen years and whether or not Hezekiah regretted his prayer.

I have seen many people healed or granted additional time on this earth – people who had death sentences pronounced over them and then miraculously lived another five, ten, even twenty years. My evidence is purely anecdotal and limited to the few people whose lives I have seen extended so don’t think I’m making some sort of set-in-stone pronouncement. But of those I have witnessed whose lives were extended I can honestly say they suffered great personal trauma in the years that were gifted – more, perhaps, than God originally intended for them to see in their lifetimes.

One dear Christian whose life was extended beyond what doctors could even believe suffered the loss of two children during those years. Another saw a daughter drawn into Satanism, self-mutilation, vampirism, drugs, alcohol, and jail. One lost the ability to eat and was left on a feeding tube. Another lost her voice and ability to worship, prophesy and testify so that others could understand. One man was healed of cancer after having been given only a few days to live only to have his wife succumb to cancer within six short months.

Conversely, I have seen those who were not granted additional years. Again, just anecdotal but interesting. A sweet, dear woman just seemed to not be able to get a break and finally passed. In less than two years her oldest son was dead. (I couldn’t help but view her death as merciful for she would not have been able to endure the loss of her son.) There are other similar stories of great pain and sorrow unseen because of the merciful passing prior to the horrendous events.

So what does all of this mean in the context of my impatience? If I had to guess I’d say the Lord is trying to show me that He knows best. He sees the beginning and the ending. He knows what has passed and what is coming and he knows just how much His beloved can endure. I believe His decision to grant additional time is based on His great love and mercy and not on our desires.

I somehow feel better now about those who haven’t been healed yet. Perhaps the Lord is sparing them from even greater evil. As He says in Isaiah 57:1, “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.”

I will keep praying for those who are physically ill, trusting that God knows what is best for each one and believing that He will heal all who can handle what is coming their way in the future.

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