The Patience of God

20170805_141058-2 (1)Debbie and I attended the open house at the new Colorado Early College high school in Fort Collins. This open house was well attended with several excellent presentations to present the opportunities the school makes available to its students. Keith King the Founder of CEC is a friend of many years and has a background as a successful businessman and state legislator.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost [sinner], Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” 1 Timothy 1:16 ESV

If there is one attribute of God that is misunderstood, it is His patience and longsuffering. Many seem to have the idea that if they doing something wrong God will just, “strike them dead!” If that happened none of us would be around for that long! Others interpret a delay in consequences for their wrong actions or attitudes as God’s endorsement or “quiet approval.”

What we do see throughout the Old Testament and reflected in the New Testament as well is that the Lord is patient in giving people the “space” to get tired of living “their own way” and to come to their “senses” and to turn to Him. The way to relationship with Christ is the same for every person. How that relationship comes to be is the personal story of each person.

Jesus called Peter and James and John from their fishing nets. He called Matthew from his work as a tax collector. He encountered Saul of Tarsus in dramatic fashion when he was the number one enemy of Christians. This humbling experience that began Paul’s relationship with Christ, continued through his life.

He refers to himself as the “worst of sinners.” He refers to himself as the “least among the apostles.” As Paul writes to Timothy, he tells him that his story is the prime example of Christ’s patience for those who would come to Him. I believe if he were alive today Paul would say, “If the Lord can forgive (save) me, He can forgive You.” or “If the Lord can change the direction and of my life, He can reach that person you believe to be ‘unreachable.'”

Peter, who knew his many failings, wrote,  “….He [The Lord] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV)

The proper response on our part is to not “try the patience” of the Lord. When we treat the Lord’s kindness with contempt and use it as an excuse to disregard His invitation, we see that we place ourselves in a dangerous position. That is why we see what the Old Testament implores, repeated in the New Testament, “For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT)

Our response to the Lord’s patience should worship, just like that of Paul’s. Right after declaring himself as an example of the Lord’s patience, he declares, “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17 ESV)

Prayer for today…. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end…” (Lamentations 3:22) Lord thank You for Your patience toward us and toward those who need to come to know You as their Savior and Lord. Allow us to never take it for granted, but to be in constant awe of Your love.