“But do not overlook this fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” – 2 Peter 3:8-10
I don’t know about you, but when I think about a conversation on patience, I typically don’t think happy thoughts. Every conversation that revolves around patience reminds me of how little I truly have! I once heard someone say they didn’t ever pray for patience because they knew if they prayed for patience, God would put them in situations where they needed patience – and those were the situations they are trying to avoid! The reality is patience is a virtue that is difficult to find.
We all know we need more patience in our lives, but everything in the world we live in is teaching us and conditioning us to operate with less and less patience. High-speed internet, microwave ovens, fast food drive-thru… the list goes on and on. No wonder we struggle with patience! If it does not happen quickly and when we want it, then we are ticked! As a result of our struggle with patience, it can be difficult for us to truly understand the patience of God and see the gift of His patience toward us.
The good news is God is not like us. We are not like God. Isn’t that great? We have a tendency to view God through the lens of our humanity, but He is God! He does not struggle with patience. It is not like He is biting His lip and gritting His teeth to put up with you. Patience is not something He has to work on. He IS patience. It is one of His attributes – part of His character.
Let me make this clear. If God was not a patient God, then we would have no chance – for anything. So, let’s look more closely at His patience:
- God’s patience is supernatural. – Through His infinite lens, “one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” And He loves us. In fact, His patience is fueled by His love for us.
- God’s patience is for a purpose. – To lead us to repentance. What is repentance? It’s to have another mind. To turn around and go the other direction. So, His patience is meant to lead us to a place where we can recognize His amazing, beautiful grace and mercy.
- The patience of God points to the Glory of God. – When we truly understand the reality of this statement, it is a sobering thought. Not all will call on the name of the Lord, so there is an urgency to this message of God’s patience. A day is coming for each of us when we will have to stand before the most high God. All of our works will be exposed. We will be totally and completely laid bare. On that day the Glory of God will be perfectly and completely revealed. Those who are followers of Jesus Christ will stand before God and when He looks at us, He will see His Son, Jesus Christ. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, instead of seeing our imperfect works and deeds, God will see the good and perfect works of His Son. His patience and grace will be gloriously displayed. It will be beautiful beyond our imaginations.
Don’t miss out on the gift of God’s patience as He pursues you with His mercy and grace. His patience is inviting you to trust in Him as your Savior and Lord.
Taken from a sermon by George Wright, Senior Pastor, Shandon Baptist Church, Columbia, S.C.