Devotions this week based on the Message: “BELIEVE: Week 26: PATIENCE”
(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
Why is God so patient?
Or, maybe we phrase this…”God, why are you so slow?”
We see evil…we want God to take care of it NOW!
We suffer illness…we want God to end it NOW!
We experience hardship…we want God to change it NOW!
God, why are you so slow?
We often perceive God is not working on our time frame. We see an immediate need and desire an immediate response. We are not the first. People throughout the ages whose stories are recorded in Scripture wondered the same thing.
Here’s just a few examples: Moses wondering, “How long?”
Numbers 14:11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?
King David in a time of challenge and suffering:
Psalm 6:3 My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long?
The prophet Jeremiah lamenting the disaster of Israel:
Jeremiah 4:20-21 Disaster follows disaster; the whole land lies in ruins. In an instant my tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment. 21 How long must I see the battle standard and hear the sound of the trumpet?
We think God is slow…But God is being patient…but why?
2 Peter 3:8-9 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
God is patient because he doesn’t want anyone to perish.
God’s story is a story of patience. As soon as anyone sins, God has a right in his justice to strike us dead and send us to hell, immediately. Yet he doesn’t. Why?
In reading explanation for the word μακροθυμεῖν in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, I found these interesting aspects of patience that deepened my appreciation for God’s patience for me, for us.
In biblical usage, μακροθυμεῖν does not imply renunciation of the grounds for wrath. What it does mean is that alongside this wrath there is a divine restraint which postpones its operation until something takes place in man which justifies the postponement. If this new attitude does not eventuate, then wrath is fully visited
Patience is the tension between wrath and mercy. God restrains one’s wrath when he rightly has the ability to show it. He allows his grace and loving-kindness to rule. God was willing to wait with punishing sin until he laid all sin of all people on his Son Jesus. This connection to the payment of Jesus changes a person’s standing with God. As a result? They come to repentance and don’t perish.
God’s heart gives people a time on this earth to come to know Jesus. We may think God is slow, but in reality he is showing mercy by being patient.
Just like he did for you and me.
Apply: When have you seen the patience of God allow for the repentance and faith of another (your faith story may be that answer!)
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your patience. While I don’t always understand it, I understand your heart is to give people time to repent and turn to you for forgiveness and eternal life. AMEN.