But God was patient with them forty years, though they tried his patience sorely; he kept right on doing his mighty miracles for them to see. [Hebrews 3:9 (TLB)]
Don’t you realize how patient he is being with you? Or don’t you care? Can’t you see that he has been waiting all this time without punishing you, to give you time to turn from your sin? His kindness is meant to lead you to repentance. [Romans 2:4 (TLB)]
Patience may be one of the fruits of the Spirit but there appears to be a shortage of it in my life’s orchard. Paul tells us that hardships teach us patience and patience develops strength of character but I imagine most of us are impatient to see all of that character building come to an end. Moses must have grown impatient leading the Israelites all those years, yet consider the patience God had during those same forty years as He dealt with His children’s disobedience, ingratitude and complaints. In fact, consider how patient God has been with mankind since the beginning of time. We err and stray, forget and disobey, ignore, defy and even deny Him, yet He still hasn’t given up on us. Mercifully, we have a God who loves us and, as Paul tells us, love is patient and kind. Remembering that the measure we use to give will be used to measure what we receive, we must be patient with others if we want God to be patient with us.
Father, forgive us for frequently trying your patience and for having so little patience ourselves. Please give us patience: patience to wait and let children mature, patience for relationships to develop, patience for other people’s sentences to be completed, patience for projects to be finished, patience for questions to be answered and problems to be solved, patience for tempers to cool and relationships to mend, patience with our own shortcomings and those of others, patience for healing to occur, and patience for prayers to be answered. Strengthen our hearts with your love and fill our lives with your Holy Spirit so that our lives are filled not just with patience but also with peace, joy, restraint, integrity, steadfastness, compassion, and loving-kindness.