“…imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
Hebrews 6:12, NKJV
My mouth watered and my stomach growled as I thought of the delicious meal I was about to prepare for my family. The meat was thawing in the refrigerator, the oven was warming up and the supplies were on the counter—but when I opened the spice drawer, I realized I was missing one of the main ingredients. My mouth, my stomach and my family were all disappointed to realize that without this particular spice, I could not make the recipe I had originally planned.
It’s amazing that just one small ingredient can make or break an entire recipe. When it comes to the recipe of faith, there is also an ingredient that often gets overlooked. As children of God, we are blessed with the confidence that our Father will keep His promises. What He has spoken, He will fulfill; where He has initiated, He will follow through. Though our faith in His promises moves us to come boldly before His throne, we often encounter seasons where our faith is put through the fire. During these seasons of trial, we need to remember the one ingredient that produces enduring faith: patience.
In Hebrews 11, we read of the cloud of witnesses who have gone before us. The men and women of God listed in these verses are known for their great faith: great—due not to their own merit, but due to the greatness of the God in whom they placed their faith. Such people had an intimate knowledge of God that enabled them to walk with confidence in His promises. They were so sure of His faithfulness that they were willing to wait a lifetime and beyond to see the fulfillment of His Words. Their faith was accompanied by patience:
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on earth.” (Hebrews 11:13, NKJV).
We will develop the same patience to persevere in faith when we look to “the author and finisher of our faith.” When we look to Him, we are reminded that it is not so much our faith that keeps us, as it is His faithfulness. An understanding of His faithfulness will fuel our willingness to wait for the fulfillment of His promises.
Abraham was promised that he would father many nations, yet he did not even see the birth of his son until he was old in years. His son was merely a seed of the promise of many nations, and Abraham died without having seen the full fruition of that seed.
Joseph was given dreams of how God would do great things through him—but before his dreams became a reality, he endured rejection, enslavement, false accusations, and imprisonment. Moses asked to see God’s glory, and his prayer was not answered until years after his death when he visited Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. David was anointed as King, but he had to live under the ungodly rule of Saul before he could wear the crown. The disciples heard from Jesus’ own mouth words of the coming kingdom, but they endured severe persecution and even death without seeing the fullness of the kingdom come.
In these last days, we are not only going to need faith to stand firm until the end. We are going to need the key ingredient of patience. And patience will only come through an intimate knowledge of God. When we know Him intimately, we will be sure of His faithfulness. And He who is faithful is able to keep us.