My wife and I did some wood stove shopping a few months back. We love our wood stove, but we’ve had it for a long time. Only heaven knows how many fires have been built in that stove. How many conversations  around that old stove have been warmed and enriched by the special heat that’s produced by a wood stove. But old wood stoves need to be replaced when they’ve seen their better days. So, my wife and I searched the internet, and then visited some of our local stores before we finally decided on a beautiful new stove that I think will meet our needs.

Funny thing, though. We couldn’t just buy our stove and then have it delivered and installed. We had to order it. In fact, the sales lady said our stove hadn’t even been made yet. She said we had to get in line with others who had ordered their stoves ahead of us. The company couldn’t keep up with all the orders for their stoves, so you might say, ordering our stove was a little bit like taking a number at a meat market, and then waiting to be served until our number was called. When our turn comes, they’ll begin making our stove. And when it’s finished, they’ll ship it. In a word, they won’t make any wood stove before its time. What we found out was that when you want a new stove? Waiting for it is part of the process.

We’ve been waiting now for nearly 5 months. I’m not even sure they’ve started making our stove yet. We’ve waited so long, in fact, that the other day someone asked me what kind of stove we were getting, and I couldn’t remember. It’s a wood stove. That’s all I know.

In a believer’s life, have you noticed? In your own life, have you ever noticed? There seems to be lots of waiting. God’s word tells us that patience is an important part of the believer’s arsenal of weapons in managing life every day. When testings show up, James says we shouldn’t think it strange, but instead realize that patience is part of a maturing process.

For me, patience is different than perseverance. Patience is waiting for some outfit across the country to manufacture the wood stove we ordered 5 months ago in the dead of the summer heat. Patience is waiting for a red light to turn green at a traffic stop when I’m in a hurry to get home. Perseverance? Perseverance is what I do while I’m managing the serious problems show up in my world and aren’t going to go away anytime soon. Perseverance is ‘cutting through’ or smacking a brick wall with a sledge. I keep swinging, even when the wall doesn’t seem to be budging.

Both of those important elements — patience and perseverance — are needed and encouraged in God’s word as important parts of our character development, if we’re to successfully navigate life in these troubled times. There’s a lot to be said for the benefits of learning patience and perseverance, I think. The fire in a new wood stove is going to feel wonderful, later this winter. I can’t help but believe the warmth of the stove … will be well worth the wait. 

 “Listen to instruction,” says The Book, “and be wise, And do not neglect it. Blessed is the person who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts. For one who finds me finds life, And obtains favor from the Lord.” Prov. 8:33-35 

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