Month: September 2014



Ever have one of those days where your patience is tried? I mean really tried. I mean one of those days where it seems like everyone on the planet is in on the joke? Of course you have. And we should not be surprised that we have days like this because we live in a fallen, broken world. So how do we “arrest our hearts” so that we begin to see that things and people and circumstances that test our patience are actually good for us? I’ll let two people share their thoughts- George Downame and the apostle Paul.

George Downame (c.1563-1634) is one of the lesser-known Puritans but his words on patience are what you may need today:

Our Physician makes these outward blisters in our bodies, to draw out the poisonous corruption that is in our souls: and therefore let us endure what He imposes with patience, and never murmur against Him for effecting His cure; knowing that it is but childish folly to abhor the medicine more than the disease.

How often do we murmur against what Jesus brings into our life for our cure? How spiritually immature is it that we abhor the medicine (God’s sovereignty in arranging our days and situations in order to make us more like His Son) more than we abhor the disease (our selfishness, sin, etc.)?

So how do we endure difficult people, situations, etc. in order to be conformed to the image of Jesus? Let the apostle Paul help you today:

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy… Colossians 1:11

In order to endure trials and difficulties and people and situations that test our patience, we need outside help. We need the power that emanates from God’s glorious might. Only His power can enable us to endure with patience and joy. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can enable us to endure “these outward blisters” that God imposes on us. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can help us to not abhor the “medicine” that God brings into our lives. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can enable us to see that God brings the “medicine” of trials and difficulties in order to remove the disease of sin and selfishness that permeates our hearts.

Have you thanked God for the outward blisters He has made on you?

Struggling to give thanks for God-ordained blisters,



Now Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion on them, and he turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, nor has he cast them from his presence until now. 2 Kings 13:22-23

In 2 Kings 13, King Joash tragically responded to the word of God, hence, the oppression of Hazael in verse 22. But after verse 22 comes this big “but”- But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion on them. Why was Yahweh faithful to unfaithful Israel? Because of the covenant that He made with Abraham. God is faithful to His promises, even when His people aren’t.

We know from our study in Ezra+Nehemiah that eventually the Lord did “cast” His people into exile (see 2nd Kings 24:20). He was faithful to the promise of discipline that He promised in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. But the Lord waited patiently for a very long time before He cast Israel into exile. Why? Because He is “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands…” (Exodus 34:6-7). He waits because He is faithful to the covenant, faithful to His promises. That’s how God deals with us and that’s how He wants us to view Him: faithful to His promises. Martin Luther reminds us how God deals with us and what He desires of us:

He desires not works nor has he need of them. He desires that we consider him faithful in his promises & patiently persist in this belief. God does not deal, nor has he ever dealt, with man otherwise than through a word of promise.

God doesn’t need your good works. As Luther also famously said, “God doesn’t need your good works, but your neighbor does.” What God desires is that we consider Him faithful to His promises and we patiently persist in this belief. Why? Because God does not, nor has He ever, dealt with man other than through a word of promise. I love that our God is like that!

So let me recommend to you a book that highlights how God deals with His people: The Promises of God: Discovering the One who Keeps His Word