Unfortunately, many in Christendom have been deceived into believing in the wrong Jesus. They were sold a false Gospel of prosperity. “God will take away all your troubles, give you all the monies you want and make your life cozy and as comfortable as an old shoe!” What a big-fat-lumpy-blatant lie!
Then after a little while, you begin to encounter challenges not faced by others. As the first challenge came through, perhaps it was a job loss; then you get on your knees and start praying, “God sort this problem for me!” He comes and fill you with His peace. Just as you are rising from your knees, another problem knocks your door in the form of unpaid bills. Panic start setting in and you go back to the place of prayer again and this time with fasting.
As soon as you finish the fasting and prayer, you get a letter from a close relative that the bank is about to repossess their property. As if that wasn’t enough, your teen daughter who used to be a nice cute girl starts hanging out with street boys in your area and she is ignoring all your advice and objections.
It’s like the world is collapsing on you and have been forsaken by God!
My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” You cry out.
“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” [James 5:11]
The Patience of Job
Job was a man who had it all. He was rich, eloquent, influential and powerful. In terms of his wealth and influential status, you could almost say he was the Warren Buffet of his time.
Job 29:6 When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil;
Job 29:7 When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street!
Job 29:8 The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up.
Job 29:9 The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth.
Job 29:10 The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth.
Without a shadow of doubt, Job’s calamity was as terrible as any human being could live with in a lifetime. In one day, he suffered the loss of his business empire (Job 1:14-17). As if that was not enough, on the same day, he lost all his ten children as a great wind from the wilderness destroyed the four corners of their banqueting house and the building collapsed on all of them.
Just as he laid mourning for all his losses, he started suffering poor health with a terrible burning skin ulcer. He had to resort to ashes; perhaps the calcium oxide and iron oxide residue of ash, akin to calamine lotion, provided some relief to the burning sensation of his skin.
One would think it would end there, not all. His wife, who should have pitied him, rubbed more salt into his hurting soul:
“Then said his wife unto him, Do you still retain your integrity? curse God, and die.” [Job 2:9]
Who put on him this miserable crown of iron? It was Satan!
What other proof do we have that it was Satan who put that evil crown of iron on him?
“And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. ….. Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.” [Zechariah 3:1-3]
Satan wasn’t finished in using circumstances to get at Job so that he would be pressured to murmur, complain and deny God. He used his friends, who should have comforted and helped him to multiply his distress, adding more to his misery, forcing him to call them “miserable comforters”.
Does that ring a bell with you and your circumstances? Job was wearing the iron crown of suffering. The crown is heavy, grievous, painful and excruciatingly shameful.
One thing about this evil crown of iron is that there are various types of it. Some have it in thin-lightweight others in superheavyweight and all the shades in-between.
From this man’s miserable experiences, we could ask a thousand questions. Three questions stand above the rest. Where was God in his situation? Did He care at all? Why didn’t he prevent these evils? Yet in all these, we find Job taking a stance:
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. ….. For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:” [Job 13:15 & Job 19:25-26]
In the end, God intervened and blessed Job for his love and trust in Him. He proved to him, his wife, friends and the general public that He was in control and that He cares.
“So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. … After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations.” [Job 42:12, 16]
God had taken off the wretched crown of iron and replaced it with the glorious golden crown prepared only for His saints. It was like someone who had triumphed at Olympics’ best competition!
The Patience of Abraham
At the age of seventy-five, Abraham heard and chose to follow God. It was shortly after this call from a lifetime of idolatrous servitude that God promised to give him an heir. He had been childless with his wife before he met God.
You would think that as soon as he started following God, God would solve all his problems and make his life a bed of roses. No, it was like Abraham had entered into a life of uncertainty. First, he had to go to a nameless city in a nameless country with his wife. Remember, a typical woman loves her cozy security and Sarai was not exempt, not to mention a man with all his trappings of family and comfortable lifestyle such as Abraham. The family’s comfort was shaken to the core.
Then there is the added pressure of his wife desiring a baby at all costs. She even made him sleep with her maidservant, got a baby and entered into another world of trouble. All the while, God was still promising that He would give him a son.
Genesis 15:2 And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
Genesis 15:3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
Genesis 15:4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
To make his situation worse, from an any observer’s perspective, God asked him to change his name from Abram to Abraham. Was God trying to make a laughing stock out of Abraham?
“Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.” [Genesis 17:5]
Abram had meant “Exalted father” but Abraham means “Father of many nations”. What a painful and heavy crown of iron Abraham had on his head!
Then twenty-five years after God first called him, he got his son, Isaac, whose name meant “laughter”. That meant every time he saw the boy, it would be his turn to laugh at all the mockery he had ever suffered.
“And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. …. And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. [Genesis 24:1, 25:7]
God gave him back three times the number of years he had suffered in waiting for Him. God had taken off Abraham’s crown of iron and put on him the glorious golden crown! What a mighty God we have as our Father!
The Patience of Jacob
Born after his parents had endured a twenty-year wait to be blessed by God with children; he was also given a precious promise that he would be blessed above his siblings, Jacob was in no condition to be as patient as his father or grandfather for God.
With salesman-like cunningness and in cooperation with his mum, he managed to steal the birthright and blessings of his brother before running away after being threatened by the latter.
Jacob did not even wait for Satan to decorate his head with the crown of iron, he hurriedly put it on by himself!
Then he met his match in Laban, his uncle, who showed him the true art of con. Laban manipulated deals with him and changed his salary several times. As if that was not enough, Jacob’s children also conned him into believing his son, Joseph was dead.
Gen 37:31 And they took Joseph’s coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood;
Gen 37:32 And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.
Gen 37:33 And he knew it, and said, It is my son’s coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces.
Gen 37:34 And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
He had to endure patiently for the next twelve or fifteen years to learn the truth of his son. It was a life of pain, heartbreak and grief.
Gen 45:27 And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived:
Gen 45:28 And Israel said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.
God had taken off his miserable crown of iron and put on him the glorious golden crown, too.
The Patience of Moses
The nation of Israel was at a sensitive period in their history. They had been in Egypt for a period of three hundred and ninety years and were about to be taken out of the place by God, then the person God had obviously chosen became too proud and impatient that he jumped the gun. His zeal had the better of his knowledge of God’s plan and he ended killing an Egyptian. How I wish that many Christians dashing around the world saying they are preaching the Gospel would just sit down at Jesus’ feet and learn of Him instead of their meaningless exercise of zeal without knowledge!
“Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.” [Exodus 2:15]
His impatience ruined a promising future. He became a murderer and a fugitive. He went from being a prince of Egypt to being a pauper of the wilderness.
Moses, the prince of Egypt took off his Egyptian crown and replaced it with the sufferings of Christ, which came with a tag, crown of iron.
“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.” [Exodus 3:1]
Fast forward, forty years into learning obedience and patience by the things he suffered, as a shepherd tending the sheep in the wilderness, Moses was a broken man. He received a commission from God to lead His people out of Egypt through signs and wonders the world has ever experienced.
God had taken off the suffering crown of iron and put on him the glorious golden crown. He became a man with whom God would communicate mouth-to-mouth and respected in the courts of God.
“And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.” [Exodus 34:29]
His physical body started transforming. No wonder he did not need spectacles at 120 years of age. He was even so strong that he climbed a high mountain with no scooter or helicopter.
“And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho ….. And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.” [Deuteronomy 34:1, 7]
What more shall I say of the patience of men like Joseph, Daniel, Jeremiah, Jehoshaphat and so many others?
But there is one man’s patience that surpasses all these combined. It is the patience of Jesus Christ.
The Patience of Jesus Christ
“I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” [Revelation 1:9]
Many still believed that Jesus walked the earth as God and everything was always easy and rosy with Him. That is far from the truth!
Jesus was God in human form.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. …. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” [John 1:1, 14]
He suffered like all these people I have mentioned above. He suffered similar things as you (or are suffering). Some said he never suffered any sicknesses and diseases. That is not wholly correct. While he walked the earth, He walked in divine health, but just before He died, this is what happened:
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. …. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. …. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. …. and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” [Isaiah 53:3-7]
Does that sound a little like you and more? He went through all that for thirty-three and a half years before He could save mankind. This is the patience of Jesus Christ.
Despised, rejected, sorrowful, grieved, wounded, bruised, chastised, afflicted, oppressed, and beaten with stripes! Does what you are going through as a believer compare with that? Jesus humbly CHOSE to live under the heavyweight of this shame simply because He was after giving the kingdom of God to us. This is the patience of Jesus Christ.
The patience of Christ is like a farmer who has to exercise patience at the sowing of a seed, its germination and ultimately the harvest its produce.
Worse still is the fact that He was suffering all these not for Himself but because of you. “…. and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” In our modern world that would be called, “miscarriage of justice”; The Righteous suffering the punishment of the sinner. How horrible! Can you do that? Will you humbly accept that?
The Google dictionary defines patience: “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset”. This is a true definition of the life of Jesus Christ.
We also read, “….Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief:….” (Isaiah 53:10). Why would such horrible experience please God?
It was the knowledge of this same reason that Jesus did not answer the questions of John the Baptist, when he was shut in prison.
“And said unto him (Jesus), Are you he that should come, or do we look for another?” [Matthew 11:3]
There will not be a golden crown of the overcomer without first wearing the iron crown of suffering. Jesus’ patience brought us our salvation; He could have taken the short-cut if he had accepted Satan’s offer, but He refused – the devil’s apple has worms in it. He patiently endured the Cross and its shame. He did it to receive the glory.
2 Timothy 2:12 says, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:”
What Should You Do?
What should be your attitude or disposition? The children of Israel wore the crown of iron in the wilderness but failed miserably to see it through into exchanging it for the golden crown of the overcomer!
“And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness!” [Numbers 14:2]
“How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.” [Numbers 14:27]
Their attitude was so disappointing. They refused to believe that God cared about them. They refused to trust Him to supply their every need. God desperately wanted to give them the glorious golden crown, but they did not believe Him, they were calling Him a liar by their murmurings.
So what should you do to exchange your miserable crown of iron for the glorious golden crown?
You must follow the pattern of Jesus Christ. Surrender all to God. Die to selfish desires, emotions and passions and start living to trust in Him only. God rewards those who trust Him. Give up your wallow of self-pity that has made you an emotional wreck, stop the desperate love of self and let Him deal with your situation.
“The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” [Nahum 1:7]
“That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” [Hebrews 6:12]
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” [Revelation 20:6]
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” [Hebrews 11:6]
“And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” [Hebrews 3:18-19]
“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” [Ecclesiastes 7:8]
There is a JOY set before you, in this life and in the one to come. Hebrews 12:2 tells us, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us.” [Romans 5:3-5 KJ2000]
As you keep your trust in Him, He will come and change your crown of iron into a crown of gold. Amen!
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