God is Love — Love is Patient — So God is Patient
I struggle with impatience. I know that many people today do as well. We live in such a fast paced society where everything is at our disposal. We want it now, and we want it our way. Unfortunately, many people view God as being impatient with us. People believe that God is very demanding and is not willing to deal with their struggles. I know that as I was growing up, I felt that God was not patient with my struggles. He demanded perfection and He demanded it now! How wrong I was.
Let’s look at a few scriptures concerning God’s patience:
Exodus 34:6 Then he passed in front of Moses and called out, “I am the LORD God. I am merciful and very patient with my people. I show great love, and I can be trusted. (CEV) (emphasis mine)
God passed in front of him and called out, “God, God, a God of mercy and grace, endlessly patient— so much love, so deeply true– 7 loyal in love for a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. (Message) (emphasis mine)
Romans 15:5-6 5 Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of the same mind one with another according to Christ Jesus:6 that with one accord ye may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (ASV) (emphasis mine)
We can see from these scriptures that God is patient with humanity. Yet, we still seem to struggle with believing that our Father is patient with us.
One reason we struggle with the patience of God is we see patience as simply the ability to hold back one’s anger and hostility. That seems to be how many people define patience. One is patient when he is able to control his anger. One is patient when he bites his tongue and doesn’t really tell you what he wants to tell you. Many people see God as just simply waiting until the right time to unleash His full-blown anger on humanity because of our sinfulness. He’s patiently holding back and controlling His temper. But this isn’t God at all. Notice the above verses talk about how God is slow to anger. Many people today see God as a very angry God, but He is not. He is loving towards humanity. So much so, that He sent Jesus to die for us.
Another reason we struggle with God’s patience is because we are not patient with others. You would think that people, especially Christians, would be patient with one another considering that we all are imperfect. Yet, that is not the case with so many of us. We are so impatient with each other. We have no tolerance for other’s imperfections or struggles. We should give so much grace, but we don’t. Look at the patience of Jesus with people. He was always around sinners yet He didn’t pounce on their sins. He was patient with people and their struggles.
One more reason we struggle with God’s patience is that we are not patient with ourselves. Most of us are our own worst enemies. We beat ourselves up over our struggles and imperfections. We are constantly judging ourselves because we are not perfect. We are not patient with ourselves so we struggle to believe that God is impatient with us.
Lastly, I believe that we struggle with the whole idea of patience because patience has to do with loving and understanding someone. In our fast paced society we don’t take the time to really understand people. Everyone has a story and a reason for doing what they do. Even if the reason is silly or makes no sense at all, there is always a reason. When we begin to understand someone’s story, then we can be more patient with them because we are trying to understand their issues. We are seeking to understand their heart. When you truly seek someone’s heart, you can then become patient with them.
Because God understands our hearts and our struggles He can be patient with us. Hebrews 4 tells us that we have a high priest in Jesus who understands our struggles because of His own humanity. Because of His understanding Hebrews tells us to come boldly to God’s throne in order to obtain grace and mercy during our time of need. This is a most incredible promise because it shows us that we don’t have to run from God in our weakness. We can run to God in our weakness. He is patient with us because He understands us.
So, do you believe that God is patient with you? Do you believe that He demands perfection now or do you think that He understands your weakness and struggle?