Sunday, November 28, 2010

God Waits Patiently

I thought it apt for the first day of Advent - a season traditionally about waiting - when at church this morning Helen spoke about how God waits patiently. It was part of a series on the characteristics of God and the series just brought us to God’s patience today but this really struck me both because of the season and because of how it spoke personally to me.

Among many verses Helen quoted 2 Peter 3:9:
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”

God is patient with his people. When we sin he could respond with anger but actually ‘he is slow to anger’ and bears with us patiently. Yes God’s timing is impeccable. He came to this earth at the right time, he will come again at the right time and he comes to us to meet our needs just at the right time - whatever we may say.

Patience is rare. We get so wound up when things don’t go fast enough or when we are driving and another driver cuts in front of us forcing us to slow down. We now live at such a pace that we cannot wait for the sort of “slow food” that was common a century or more ago. Helen gave the illustration that someone might even say “hurry up” to the microwave. By the way you might be interested Helen that there is a trend to recapture that idea of slow food. You can find out about slow food movement here and here.

God isn’t like us. His patience is unlimited. It is his nature to calmly endure delay without complaining; to wait with calmness and endurance. But amazingly as Christians we can actually be carriers of God’s patience to others – just as we can carry many of his other characteristics such as his mercy and grace to others. One memorable point was that the fact we are told in Colossians 3:12 to clothe ourselves with, amongst other things, patience indicates that it must be in our wardrobe. I also liked the little insight that we get impatient when we see a lack, a lack of time, a lack of ability, a lack of power but God doesn’t lack anything - yes of course - and with God neither do we.

So when people try our patience – as our children often do – it is to see if our patience is any good. At first it might not be but don’t be afraid they will keep giving you opportunities to develop it!

This really spoke to me not just because I am reading about advent in my own devotions but also because I becoming aware just how impatient I have sometimes been and sense that God is beginning to build this character strength in me.

Thanks for that word Helen.

No comments: