From the Pastor’s Pen:
“God is Patient...”
of our Lord as
salvation, just as our beloved
brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him.”
(2 Peter 3:15)
War strikes again. Over the weekend, news outlets broadcasted brutal, barbaric images from the latest conflict in Israel. The total disregard for human life sends chills through the soul. With the psalmist, we cry out, “How long, O Lord?” But haven’t we been raising this tearful question for years? We see the bloodletting of violence across our country - men, women, and children gunned down in cold blood over nothing. How long, O Lord? We see the grown men acting as boys, leaving their wife and children at home while they carouse under every neon light with all manner of strangers. How long, O Lord? We see the Lord’s Day punctuated by absenteeism from those who bite the heavenly hand that feeds. How long, O Lord? Cells reproduce one after another, forming new life which will one day spite God to His face. How long, O Lord?
Oh, how the Lord is patient! Or to use an old-fashioned word - long-suffering. Long has He endured our (not just those people in the Middle East, but even us in Hinds County), long has He endured our sinfulness, our spitefulness, our shamefulness. From the first act of disobedience as a child, God should have taken us out of this world, but He is patient. Our forefathers should have been judged long before reaching child-rearing age, but the Lord is patient. Noah should have never been allowed on the ship, nor Adam and Eve to exit the Garden, but the Lord is patient. If the Lord had not been patient, none of us would have known the salvation found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Patience bears a cost for God. To be patient means the foregoing of something present until a later day. All of the wrath of which God’s people had accumulated, God passed until a later day, until the cross of Calvary. Here, His divine forbearance ended, and Christ endured all of the wrath destined for us. Now, the question before us is simple - what are you doing with God’s patience? If God extends your life 10, 20, or 80 years, it is for the purpose of salvation. God acts patiently in order that we may have opportunity to come to a saving knowledge of Christ. However, if we spend these years spurning God’s patience, we will meet with God’s wrath. If Christ does not bear it for us now, we will bear it ourselves then. Again, what are we doing with God’s patience?
Patience also bears a cost for us. If God has shown such patience towards us, how much should we show one another? When we jump ugly with someone because of our own impatience, we have not yet grasp God’s patient dealing with us. How are we reflecting God’s patience?