Benjamin Warfield and Patience

I read this remarkable post from John Piper about Benjamin Warfield and his life. Piper quotes in his article:

Benjamin B. Warfield was a world-renowned theologian who taught at Princeton Seminary for almost 34 years until his death on February 16, 1921. Many people are aware of his famous books, like The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible. But what most people don’t know is that in 1876, at the age of twenty-five, he married Annie Kinkead and took a honeymoon to Germany. During a fierce storm Annie was struck by lightning and permanently paralyzed. After caring for her for thirty-nine years Warfield laid her to rest in 1915. Because of her extraordinary needs, Warfield seldom left his home for more than two hours at a time during all those years of marriage. (Great Leaders of the Christian Church, 344.)

That’s amazing patience, especially in a day when we want it our way, right away. It’s a good reminder that patience is something the Lord values greatly. How many times do we read in Scripture about those who wait on the Lord, exhortations to wait, and instruction about how to wait? Seems like a theme to me. I wonder what it is about patience that the Lord prizes so much? What does our patience reveal about Him, and our relationship to Him?

Thoughts?

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3 Comments

  • Megs says:

    i think perhaps that there’s something in there about contentment and about anticipation. Seems like an odd combination, but hear me out. Because, sometimes the best part (ok, maybe second best part) about waiting for something is the anticipation of that thing. It’s a lesson in appreciation . . . which leads me to the contentment. It seems to me that a big part of our lessons in waiting, in patience, in learning to choose what is best . . . and to not accept filler in its place, is learning to be content – in all circumstances (Phil 4:11). It’s about knowing and trusting that God is in control, God is good, and God wants good for you. i think that it’s a way to show our trust in, our obedience to, and ultimately, our thankfulness for who God is. So . . . that’s my $.02

  • Zach says:

    I think patience points to trust. Usually when I am impatient (which unfortunately I am very often) it’s a control issue. If there is one thing that I see when I read the Bible it’s that God want us to be “out of control” so the he can be in control. God hates self-sufficiency with a passion. Self-sufficiency is antithetical to the gospel. If you have it all together then you have no need for the gospel. But when I bend the knee, that means I am out of control. Scary.

    Ultimately I think impatience is a gospel issue. Do I trust or am I a control freak? Control freak are usually impatient. As least this one is when I am at my worst.

    z

  • Rebby says:

    Off the top of my head, I can think of two reasons God values patience.

    First off, it’s an attribute of God himself, who is “slow to anger” and patiently waits on us. I think that in being patient, we glorify God and reflect his character.

    Secondly, I think the opposite- impatience is thinly veiled pride and an affront to God’s sovereignty. Where patience says “your will in your time, Lord” and “I will give grace as you have given me grace”, impatience tends to elevate one above both God’s sovereign will and timing, as well as over others. This elevation is nothing other than idolatry. In saying “my co-worker is so frustrating!” or “why can’t this happen sooner”, we call into question God’s ability to rule over things.

    I think.

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