“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved… the Lord is patient toward you” (2 Peter 3:9).
Is there anyone here this morning who cannot benefit from greater patience? I know I can. In our “hurry up” world we frequently find ourselves in situations when our patience is stretched. It happens while driving, in the check-out line, with our kids, at work, when depending on others for help, and on and on. No doubt, we regularly find ourselves in circumstances when greater patience is needed. It’s a daily occurrence, is it not?
With that in mind, the words of Peter convicted me greatly this past week. Simply put, God has been, and continues to be, incredibly patient with me. He sees my shortcomings and struggles. Yet he never gives up, because in Peter’s words, “The Lord is patient towards you.”
In that light, I wonder if you’ve ever stopped to consider the specific areas in your life in which God has demonstrated his patience with you. Each of us can identify (likely in an instant) the character issues we struggle with. Perhaps for some of us, the main issue we struggle with is our lack of patience. Yet when we consider God’s patience toward us, how dare we be impatient with others? This is a very practical matter for each of us to consider. In that light, here’s what I suggest you do.
Each time you feel impatient toward others, would you be intentional in bringing to mind an area in your life where God continues to be patient with you? For example, the next time your son or daughter “tries your patience,” thereby making you frustrated or angry, simply think of the last time you “messed up” and how God demonstrated his patience toward you. The next time you choose the wrong line in the supermarket, the slow moving line, recall how long God waited for you to sense his call to return to daily prayer and Bible reading. The next time something unexpected interrupts what you planned on, think of the many times you pulled something unexpected, necessitating God’s ongoing patience and longsuffering toward you.
Think of it this way. God’s patience toward us is intended for us to demonstrate the same attitude toward others. In other words, our impatience toward others is a sure sign that we’ve lost sight of God’s patience toward us. This is a tough one for us to work on. But I believe we can grow in our patience as we intentionally recall that “The Lord is patient toward you.” Start now, will you?