“But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners.”
1 Timothy 1:16, NLT
I find that I often worry about the patience of God. Not that my worrying makes any difference. But I am quite aware of my sin and my failure. I am definitely not a “model citizen” of the Kingdom of God. I believe I’ve committed more sin as a Christian, than I ever did as a pagan.
But I must insist on God’s patience. I would easily slide through His fingers if I didn’t. But it is good to pay attention to the fact of patience. It is a good thing for us that He’s completely patient.
“And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved.”
2 Peter 3:15 , NLT
The very idea that God can be patient both chafes and comforts. We might see Him “tolerating” sinners. But yet we also see Him forgiving our sin. Patience gives Him the freedom to do both.
We could get critical, and maybe even frustrated with God’s love for lost people. He loves the world (John 3:16.) However, our love doesn’t extend this far. We see the superficial, and believe that to be the whole story. But it isn’t. We give up on people, but He doesn’t.
Often, “sinners” will become disciples. (And mighty fine ones, at that.) The patience of God works effortlessly in the hearts of “sin-confused” people. At times it seems like it is “two steps forward and one back.” But that is ok. God will wait for sinners like us.
The patience of God draws us into a repentant life. He is “long- suffering,” which means that He will suffer long. But slowly, inexorably He brings us to His side. We offend Him, disregard Him, but He continues to love us. It makes no sense at all.
But He teaches us, by example to be long-suffering. We see in Him such kindness and mercy. His love for us is immeasurable. He takes it far, far beyond human reason. His patience is illogical. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them — every day begin the task anew.”
Francis de Sales