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Devotionals 2007-2008

The Patience of God
August 20, 2008By Ed Wrather


Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. - Hebrews 12:1-4 NKJV.  


I used Google to search for the phrase “I lost my patience” and found some 29,000 results. After I left out the word “lyrics” in my search, I still found 22,300 mentions of the phrase. I then did a search for the phrase “I’m sorry I lost my patience” and found only 14 mentions of that phrase. It appears that there is a whole lot of patience being lost, but not very many people are sorry about it! Patience (NIV) or longsuffering (NKJV) is one of the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 along with temperance (KJV) or self-control (NIV) (Fast forward to 2015, and in the NIV that I downloaded to my kindle last week “patience” has been changed to “forbearance.”) So, as Christians, the more control that the Holy Spirit has of our lives should result in more patience and self-control. The lack of patience and self-control indicates that we are the ones on the throne in our lives and not the Lord. 


Have you ever considered the patience of God? He has such great patience with us. As the hymn says He could have called 10,000 angels to destroy the world and set Him free from the cross, but He didn’t. Instead Jesus “endured the cross,” “endured such hostility from sinners against Himself.” Not only does God have great patience with us as sinners (And His mercies through Jesus are sufficient for every repentant sinner.), but he has great patience in guiding us.  


Think for a moment about Gideon in the Old Testament (Judges 6:1-7:22). God finds Gideon hiding in an abandoned winepress, threshing wheat, but fearing for his life. God calls him to be the one to lead Israel in delivering them from the Midianites. From Gideon’s actions we know that he continues to have doubts about God’s call and how the deliverance is to be brought about. Even so, God is patient! He gives Gideon six reassurances as He leads Gideon to victory over the Midianites.  


God created us and He knows our frailties, our weaknesses. He knows that we need His guidance, His reassurances. When He calls us, He is not finished with the process. That’s the beginning. He is still there to guide us when we have our doubts. He is still there to reassure us, to point us again in the right direction. He loves us as His children. Because He “endured the contradiction of sinners,” how much more so does He endure and have patience with us His children.  


Not sure about where or what God wants in your life? Ask Him? He will not be angry. Would we be angry at our own children if they asked us what we wanted? No, of course not! God is all powerful and all knowing. I think that He can handle a question or two (or three, or four, or five....) from His children. Unlike us, God does have patience!

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