Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In the Hands of a Patient God - Fruit of the Spirit Part 4 cont.

Although I am learning to be more patient, I have so far to go. When there is too much work to do and three little people are all calling for my attention at the same time it can be unbelievably hard to remember to count to ten, take deep breaths and move calmly through the situation. While I wish to give myself the grace to learn, I also wish to be a quick study, so even in my quest for patience I am impatient! I must turn to my ultimate role model and the One who will supply the patience if I will remember to turn to Him.

In what ways does God demonstrate His patience to us? Two verses come to mind.

First, one of my favorite verses: "The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy." Psalm 103:8 Although the word "patience" is not directly used here, the combination of grace, compassion, a slow anger fuse, and mercy adds up to patience. The perspectives that can keep me from losing my patience as a worn out mother include:
  • realizing that my children need a break even if they don't deserve it (grace)
  • seeing my children through eyes of love (compassion)
  • dousing that anger fuse (mine is way too short)
  • and with-holding consequences that don't fall into line with the first three bullets (mercy)
I wear a bracelet that quotes this verse because each morning that I put it on I remember this amazing combination of characteristics of God, and it makes me want to be more like Him. It is an act of binding His word on my hand that seems to carry me through the day with more assurance of His presence. Interestingly, there are several similar verses in the Old Testament. (See Exodus 34:6, Numbers 14:18, Nehemiah 9:17, Psalm 86:15, and Jonah 4:2.) So even in explaining His patience toward us, God is patient.

The other verse that came to mind is II Peter 3:9 (NIV), "The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." The verse is written in the context of refuting scoffers who in that day (approximately 65-68 A.D.) were saying that Christ's second coming was a myth; that He would not return to take His own and establish His reign. So just about 30 years after Jesus' death and resurrection the skeptics were already planting seeds of doubt. Now, 2000 years later how much more do we rely on His faithfulness? As Peter reminds us we must also rejoice in His patience. To continue to uphold the heavens and earth in His hand as He waits patiently for all who will come to come. What a picture of patience! Notice, however, that Peter makes this personal, "He is patient with you." What is He waiting for? Perhaps He is patiently waiting for me to be to be more patient.

"Amen. Come, Lord Jesus." Revelation 22:20 (NIV)


Related Posts with Thumbnails