Patience is a part of Who God is in dealing with us. God is Patient and Kind to us. Producing patience is easiest when we make a choice to slow down. We must make a conscious choice to slow down the processes that are going on in our minds, wills and emotions.
Patience can be one of the most challenging fruits of the spirit to cultivate. It’s hard to wait on God and others.
The quality or virtue of patience is presented as either forbearance or endurance. In the former sense it is a quality of self-restraint or of not giving way to anger, even in the face of provocation; it is attributed to both God and man and is closely related to mercy and compassion.
Lord, thank You for reminding me that when pride seeps into my life as a poison, Your antidote is humble patience. Help me to avoid the get-rich-quick schemes of this world that stroke my ego. Teach me to focus on developing patience in my life to see tasks through to the end.
Dear God, Your Word reminds us that that impatience causes pain, but patience can bring harmony. Help me develop patience, not only for myself but also for me to live at peace with others as You have called me.
Holy Spirit, the world does not always function with patience, but You call us to set ourselves apart by this. I can’t accomplish this on my own. Fill me with Your grace and Presence to always show patience so I might become more like You to this world.
So who are the “cloud of witnesses,” and how is it they “surround” us? To understand this, we need to look at the previous chapter, as evidenced by the word therefore beginning chapter 12. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the rest of the Old Testament believers looked forward with faith to the coming of the Messiah. The author of Hebrews illustrates this eloquently in chapter 11 and then ends the chapter by telling us that the forefathers had faith to guide and direct them, but God had something better planned. Then he begins chapter 12 with a reference to these faithful men and women who paved the way for us. What the Old Testament believers looked forward to in faith—the Messiah—we look back to, having seen the fulfillment of all the prophecies concerning His first coming.
We are surrounded by the saints of the past in a unique way. It’s not that the faithful who have gone before us are spectators to the race we run. Rather, it is a figurative representation and means that we ought to act as if they were in sight and cheering us on to the same victory in the life of faith that they obtained. We are to be inspired by the godly examples these saints set during their lives. These are those whose past lives of faith encourage others to live that way, too. That the cloud is referred to as “great” indicates that millions of believers have gone before us, each bearing witness to the life of faith we now live.
A huge crowd of faithful people who have gone before us to Heaven are cheering us on as we run our own race of faith on earth. So, let’s do what Hebrews 12:1 urges us to do, by throwing off everything that hinders our progress and running in God’s direction with perseverance. When we reach the finish line, we’ll get to celebrate with God and our supporters in the cloud of witnesses. What a wonderful time that will be!