I am so thankful today that our God is so, so patient. It is a beautiful quality and one that we need to find in Him daily. How do we know that He is patient? Well it is one of the nine fruits of the spirit, and so if it is something that the Holy Spirit takes the trouble to develop in us, then it must be a significant characteristic of God our Father too. We also read that patience is the first attribute of love as they are listed in 1 Corinthians 13, which is actually a wonderful summation of God’s kind of love for us.
Jesus confirmed that God is very patient when He told the story of ‘The Prodigal Son’, which could probably be more aptly named, ‘The Loving Father’ Luke 15:11-31. Jesus lets us know that while the son is his taking time, and it sounds like a reasonably long time, ‘coming to his senses’ the father must have been waiting and watching because we are told ‘his Father saw him while he was a long way off’. He was patiently waiting for his son to return, so that he could run and get to him first.
There is a similar picture of the Lord in Isaiah 30, when God speaks through the prophet to His rebellious people . The ones of whom He says ‘These are a rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction’ verse 9. Then after a description of their waywardness, He says ‘therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious to you, and therefore He will be exalted that He may have mercy upon you’, verse 18 (from the AV).
Even though the nation was under judgment, the Lord was patiently waiting so that they had time to repent and find His mercy. This would mean being a blessed people again, in the same way that the prodigal son was blessed by being forgiven and totally reinstated as a beloved son.
These passages from both the Old and New Testaments are surely showing us the heart of our loving Heavenly Father, who waits patiently for us to come to Him, whether that is for help in a situation, or to turn away from stuff that isn’t doing us any good, or to simply catch onto the things that He is trying to teach us. His patience shows us that He believes in us and His new life within us, even when we don’t always believe in ourselves.
For many of us impatience is far more natural than patience. We live in a world that is instant, and we become accustomed to high speed everything. We recently restarted an old computer that we had left behind for a newer model. I couldn’t believe how long it took to load. We (sorry, I) can get so impatient with things that don’t deliver instantly and, if you’re like me, you may find that it is also easy to be impatient not just with technology, but with ourselves and other people too.
It is important that we don’t project that impatience onto God. It is all too easy for the enemy to tell us that God is probably totally fed up with us, and that He is getting very impatient with our slowness to learn. So today let us remind ourselves of the nature of God by thanking Him for His patience with us, and that ‘His loving kindness is better than life’ Psalm 63:3 AV. We could also help ourselves to grow in our patience by thanking Him for His patience with other people and situations that may be ‘trying’ our patience in some way at the present time.