I do not believe you can become great at something without conquering the waiting, where patience, perseverance, and above all, endurance are formed.
Mastering those essential character elements takes TIME.
Waiting, and doing it well, is an essential part of becoming all we are meant to be.
If you had asked me at age Thirty, “Do you know who you are?” I would have answered, “Why, of course!” My answer at Forty, or Fifty would have been the same, “I know who I am and have some idea of where I want to go.”
I did not.
I did not know at any of those points in my journey who I was to become, or where I was destined to go, because I was still “becoming” and I had many things yet to learn in the areas of conquering patience, perseverance, and endurance.
I’ll freely confess, I ardently avoided the place where those things are learned.
You begin to master yourself, learn who you really are, and come face-to-face with what you truly believe in only one place—The School of Suffering.
It is my belief that until you and I have graduated with honors from there? We are not ready to assume our destined purpose. Because, it is there, in that refining furnace where the dross of pride and selfish ambition are burned away; where the steel of strength and purpose are formed in us; where we acquire our patience to persevere and endure, no matter what our circumstances may be.
Until we graduate that place? We will not possess the strength of character required to carry greatness. If we want to dance with Destiny? There is a price.
It was Emerson who said,
“The hero is not fed on sweets, daily his own heart he eats; Chambers of the great are jails, and head-winds right for royal sails.”
Let me close with these thoughts from Mrs. Cowman’s Streams in the Desert:
To have a sympathizing God we must have a suffering Savior, and there is no true fellow-feeling with another save in the heart of him who has been afflicted like him. We cannot do good to others save at a cost to ourselves, and our afflictions are the price we pay for our ability to sympathize. He who would be a helper, must first be a sufferer. He who would be a Savior must somewhere and somehow have been upon a cross; and we cannot have the highest happiness of life in succoring others without tasting the cup which Jesus drank, and submitting to the baptism wherewith He was baptized.
The most comforting of David’s psalms were pressed out by suffering; and if Paul had not had his thorn in the flesh we had missed much of that tenderness which quivers in so many of his letters.
The present circumstance, which presses so hard against you (if surrendered to Christ), is the best shaped tool in the Father’s hand to chisel you for eternity. Trust Him, then. Do not push away the instrument lest you lose its work.
Strange and difficult indeed
We may find it,
But the blessing that we need
Is behind it.
The school of suffering graduates rare scholars.
“I pulled you in from all over the world, called you in from every dark corner of the earth, Telling you, ‘You’re my servant, serving on my side. I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’
Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. Count on it: Everyone who had it in for you will end up out in the cold—real losers. Those who worked against you will end up empty-handed—nothing to show for their lives. When you go out looking for your old adversaries you won’t find them—Not a trace of your old enemies, not even a memory. That’s right. Because I, your God, have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go. I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic. I’m right here to help you.’”
Isaiah 41:9-13 The Message