As some of you know, Bruce and I have been trying to sell our house in North Little Rock for nearly a year (May 8 is the anniversary of our “coming home” to Batesville). It has been a long wait, and we’re still waiting, hoping and praying.
If you knew me several years ago, you know I used to be pretty impatient. I like to think I have improved, with God’s help and a recognition of my problem. Still, when things like two mortgages, medical bills and a spouse living on disability income are a daily reality, I sometimes forget my “gift of the spirit” and get mighty impatient with God’s timing.
That’s why I’m thankful for the book On This Day in Christian History: 365 Amazing and Inspiring Stories about Saints, Martyrs, and Heroes by Robert J. Morgan.
Today I was reading this book at lunchtime in my car (my “quiet place”), and the entry about Paul – probably the greatest evangelist of all time – hit me hard. Paul talked a lot about patience and accepting and learning from the obstacles of life – and he certainly had his share of hardship. This particular story talks about his shipwreck on Malta on his way to Rome after a two-year imprisonment in Caesarea.
If anyone had cause to be impatient, it was Paul. His utmost goal was to proclaim “Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). God blessed him for that, but man did everything in his power to stop him, delay him, discourage him, obstruct him and in all other ways try to keep him from proclaiming the Good News. Yet he persevered.
Paul has taught me a lot about patience. One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:11: “… I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” This line has stuck with me since I was in my 20s (or maybe even my teens), although I have not always acted accordingly.
Paul is an inspiration to me, and, as the book points out:
“It was not in due time – but in divine time – that Paul reached Rome. His nerves held steady in the storm. His spirit remained patient in delay.
“He knew how to wait on his God.”
On This Day in Christian History is full of such stories, although you may not have heard of many of the people featured, or at least know much about them. Most of them are not “Bible characters” but mere historical figures whose names were in many ways obscure. Some were martyrs, some not, but all were heroes of the faith.
If you need the courage to persevere amid trials, pick up this book and be inspired (or check the church library, where I plan to donate my copy).
This review is part of my agreement with BookSneeze. The publisher sends me a free book, and I agree to post a review of it on my blog and one other online publication. No pressure is put on me to write a positive review – just an honest one. (Click here to learn how you can get in on this sweet deal.)