Let’s face it; generally speaking we live in an impatient society. The microwave mentality doesn’t help us come to grips with waiting for due process. Hard work and a honest approach to life seem unpopular. By the way, I fit into this category too because like everyone else, I want it and I want it now. The statement “there are no shortcuts to success” seems to have lost its value and appeal. After all, who wants to wait right?
When it comes to our spiritual lives, it can be much the same. Many times we create our own issues and then expect God to fix them and when He is silent, we blame Him for not answering us quick enough and not getting us out of the troubles of our own making. We can tend to treat God like a gum ball machine, put a quarter in (our 30 second prayer) and then expect the bubble gum to roll out and…and make us happy. That’s just wrong!
Unlike us and our impatient disposition, God is patient. Patience is defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. We also see other terms in the Bible that are synonymous with patience, such as long suffering or slow to anger.
Numbers 14:18 is more descriptive about the trustworthy nature of God. “But you, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered (patient – italics mine), immense in love, and you never, never quit.”
God’s patience is something I have been meditating on more often in recent months and also asking God to further work in me. Here are some of my observations regarding our response to and the reality of God being patient with us.
1) We are undeserving
God will never bless us on the basis of our merit. We are undeserving, yet still Jesus gave His life for us. He believed us precious enough to do so. We will never deserve what God did for us, and to assume we do is simply arrogance. Yes, we are precious to Him and the sacrificial example of His love should speak to our hearts and help us comprehend the depth of His love for us.
2) Our past failures are not who we are
There is a thought struggle most of us face. It’s this: We’ll never receive anything from God because of our past failures. Though we may have failed badly, this is simply a lie perpetrated by the enemy and it can become a major obstacle to receiving from God. This “self-rejection” hinders us from accepting the work of Christ on the cross and if not dealt with, can take deep root in our hearts and torment our minds. God’s language is LOVE and GRACE, accusation is the language of the enemy. Who will we choose to believe?
3) He will never reject us
Past experiences and disillusionment in institutions and people can stick like glue and before we realize it a mindset of rejection can take root. No matter how much people may have contributed to us feeling rejected, GOD NEVER WILL. John 6:37 is a beautiful picture of this truth: “However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.” (NLT)
With God we are NEVER rejected or pushed aside. Church leaders, family members, employers and others may overlook or ignore us but God never will, it’s just not in His nature. He is loving and gracious, and although rejection is something we may experience, remember “But you, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered (patient – italics mine), immense in love, and you never, never quit.” This is a beautiful picture that should encourage us that no matter the rejection or insults, God will always pursue us, no matter what. He will always come after us, He will never, never quit.
4) Misplaced expectation
Not sure where the thought of God being like a “fortune telling machine” at an amusement park came from – but sometimes we have this expectation. When God acts on our behalf, it is typically birthed out of undeserved favor and relationship. Since He knows what’s best for us and the timing involved, it should not surprise us when we don’t receive something on our time table. We need to double check our expectations and adjust them learn to trust our Father’s heart and His plan for our lives.
5) Wrong motives
The Bible reminds us that many times we don’t receive what we ask because we ask for selfish reasons. (see James 4:3) What our hearts desire will be the area of our focus. Let’s check our motives, a good Father knows his children very well. Luke 12:34 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
6) Character is key
Ask an employer if he prefers talent over character. What good is talent if you can’t show up for work on time, be trustworthy and reliable? In the same way, God looks for character. He scans the earth in search of those who’s hearts are committed to him (see 2 Chronicles 16:9). He looks for character above all.
7) Who are we modeling ourselves after?
Honestly, who have we modeled our lives after? My dad was never the poster child for patience, and that was what I was handed down (to coin my Pastor’s message this past week). That however should not lessen my desire to strive, ultimately, to be more like Jesus. He should be the model we should seek to follow. His patience, endurance and grace were on display throughout His ministry on earth and He still displays the same amount of patience with us all as He waits for our progress.
So thankful we are not alone in this struggle. The Spirit intercedes for us with groaning that cannot be explained. I am so glad God did not give up on us. We may lack patience, He does not. He waits patiently, and will complete the work He started. (Philippians 1:6)
Will we embrace the challenge and allow God to transform us?
Davide has a unique communication style that has given him a platform in the marketplace to use his “get the job done” skill set.God has instilled in Davide a passion to equip the body of Christ through teaching, mentoring and speaking life through experience and wisdom of years.He is deeply passionate about pursuing and cultivating the presence of God. He currently lives with his wife of 31 years, Lois in Charlotte, NC. They have 3 amazing children with their married spouses.