Are you patient?
How about in traffic? With your kids? When you’re waiting in line or for an appointment?
If you’re like me . . . it depends on the circumstances or your mood.
I know, if I’m tired or I don’t feel well. If I’m running late. If it’s the fifteenth thing that has gone wrong that day. If someone has gotten on my last nerve. If the wait seems exceptionally long. If it’s an often repeated offense—any one of those things can push me into the impatient category.
C. S. Lewis said, “Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment.”
And then I stop and wonder . . . why is the Lord patient with me?
When my attitude stinks? When I’m self-absorbed? When I continually repeat bad habits?
God is patient and I wonder why.
As I dig deep into patience this month, I want to look at the times I need patience.
Patience in prayer. Patience in big and little things. Patience, when it seems like my circumstances will never change. Patience when I’m angry and I really want to react and get even. Patience when it’s hard to change. Patience with people in general.
But before I look at my horizontal view of patience, I need to look at it vertically because…
Like humility, love, and wisdom, any ability you and I have to apply patience to our lives comes directly from God Himself.
God is patient. It is part of His character.
His patience is not in enduring long waits or difficult circumstances. God knows the beginning from the end. He knows how everything turns out. So, He has no need for situational patience.
God’s patience is with people. With sinners. He is slow to get angry. Always.
From Genesis to Revelation and still today . . . God is slow to get angry.
The Lord passed in front of Moses and said, “I am the Lord. The Lord is a God who shows mercy, who is kind, who doesn’t become angry quickly, who has great love and faithfulness and is kind to thousands of people. Exodus 34:6–7
There is no God like you. You forgive those who are guilty of sin;
You don’t look at the sins of your people who are left alive.
You will not stay angry forever because You enjoy being kind.
You will have mercy on us again; You will conquer our sins.
You will throw away all our sins into the deepest part of the sea. Micah 7:18–19
I asked God the other day, “Why are you patient with me?”
And my heart heard, “Because I love you! And…”
“God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life. God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:16–17
“Because of Jesus.”
Why is God patient with sinners like me?
Because God is love.
And love is patient.
And He wants all people to come to Him through His Son, Jesus.
All people like you and me. People of every nationality.
People from every corner of the world.
So God is patiently loving, waiting and watching.
Like the Prodigal Father, He’s waiting for His children to come home.
The Lord is not slow in doing what He promised—the way some people understand slowness. But God is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to be lost, but He wants all people to change their hearts and lives. 2 Peter 3:8–9
Like every other word we’ve searched and studied this year, patience has to start vertically with heart and mind focused on the One whose character is love and patience. The One who pours His patient love into our lives. The One who wants us to respond to His patient love by patiently loving others.
But it’s hard to be patient isn’t it?
Like Paul, it’s what I want to do, but too often it’s not what I do. (Romans 7:7–25)
So, I will keep my eyes on God. I will stay overwhelmed by His patient love. I will thank and praise Him for the gift of Jesus. By His grace alone I will trust and follow each day. And with His help, I will continue to make it a goal to patiently love the people around me. Will you join me?
May the Lord lead your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s patience. 2 Thessalonians 3:5
But, Lord, you are a God who shows mercy and is kind. You don’t become angry quickly. You have great love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15
What is something you have always wanted to know about patience?
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