Patience is not one of my strongpoints but I am learning to appreciate it more every day. I am so thankful that this is one of God’s attributes. I remember hearing someone say that, when you pray for patience, it is generally not just granted to you but taught thru life experiences. If this is true, I have been receiving these lessons for quite some time and probably have a few more lessons to go.
God has shown so much patience in dealing with His children. I think there are times when I consider the second coming that I find myself asking “why has Christ not returned yet?” I may even question His sovereignty in this timing. I love the teaching of Matt Chandler and I was a listening to one of his sermons when he was speaking on this and made the comment that he is so thankful God didn’t come just before he decided to give his life to Christ. I realized that I was being so selfish when I think “I’m ready now, come take me away from here.” God’s timing is perfect! He knows just the right time to return as to win the most of His children to Him. I am so thankful He waited for me to accept His gift of salvation but this should also help ignite a fire to be His disciples and do our part for those that are still lost. Scripture says God does not desire for any to perish but the reality is some will choose not to believe.
I believe that God is patient with us in the way He rebukes and corrects us. How many times in my life has God “nudged” me to get me to walk in His ways just to watch me continue down a path of disobedience? He could have left me there to continue on that path but He, in His infinite wisdom, would allow a more pronounced “nudge”, otherwise known as a crisis, to bring me back into submission. We are refined thru the fire and I am thankful He loves me enough to discipline me. There are so many ways He is patient with us but all we have to do is look at how hardheaded we are and it becomes clear we need a patient God to be able to deal with us.
I got frustrated the other day when I realized a lesson I had learned about a year ago, had already been forgotten. Debbie and I were having a difficult morning and I found myself doing some morning chores to stay busy. I began to pray to ask God’s direction on how best to act towards our situation. I caught myself having a conversation in my mind with someone I know and basically telling them “that their witness had been hurt because there were so many areas in his life that didn’t honor God and that he was forsaking his role as a husband according to God’s design.” I think God let me have this dialogue in my head because it all of sudden became very clear I was doing no better.
The issue was that we found ourselves reverting back to our old way of handling conflict in our marriage. I was frustrated in that Debbie had been taught lessons by God pertaining to our marriage but was struggling in the life application part. I believe that if God teaches us something but we don’t actually apply it to our life, then we are missing the point. The problem came in that I was guilty of that very same issue. God had showed me a year ago that Ephesians 5 and many other Scriptures point to the husband as the spiritual leader of the home and that we can’t just forsake that responsibility and then ask “why aren’t you getting this?” When I realized I had “slipped” back into my old ways, I only had one choice and that was to go to Debbie and ask for forgiveness and then pray together on how we could move forward, asking God to direct us. What a huge difference it made in the morning to be moving with God leading us as opposed to each of us floundering on our own and moving apart. We began to realize that as we tested the different thoughts in our head by what was consistent with God’s character and will in our lives compared to thoughts that lead us away from each other and away from His sovereign will in our lives, that our issues began to dissolve and we were able to get back to a healthy place in our personal and marital walks.
I found myself wondering how many times had God waited on me to get something that often took numerous lessons on the same theme? I realized that happened more than I care to admit. I find it amazing to read something once and get nothing but, finding that resource in my hands a second time, I can have a great revelation. Why didn’t I get it the first time? I believe that God is so patient with us that He will purposefully put that resource back in our hand because He is aware that we missed it the first time. How cool is that? We have a Teacher that knows when we failed the test and allows us to retake it with an open book.
I finally believe that God is FOR us and will continue to help us as we seek His will in our life. I know that missing the point has consequences but I am thankful He is a God of second chances because I, for one, need that. I want to be more like Christ. I want to be more patient with my children. I want to be more patient with my wife. I want to be more patient with the people God has put in my life. I can only get there by asking the Holy Spirit to change me and allowing Him to do a work in me. I have been able to see firsthand that, when we fail, we have to push the reset button and back up to get back in alignment with what God has been teaching us. I used to just try to push forward because pride wouldn’t allow me to admit fault but that is a lie the enemy wants you to believe. Admitting fault and asking for God to show you His will always leads to a more amicable solution that honors God and each other.