Sunday, March 6, 2011


     This is my amateur sketch of I-75 whenever I am in a hurry (or am tired of driving). It always seems like there are three options: drive the speed limit in the granny lane, drive 5-10mph over the limit in the middle lanes, or drive like its the Autobahn in the fast lane. How fast do I usually want to drive? Between 75 and 80mph. Not on the menu. And I have to admit, it gets on my nerves sometimes. I want to drive the way I want, how fast I want, uninterrupted. On the road, my patience often fails. Sure, most of the time I slow down let people merge ahead of me. I give people space when I'm passing them. I use my signals. That's considerate, right? Yeah, but honestly, it's easy to do those things when I've got plenty of time on my hands. How often do I drive considerately and patiently when I am in a hurry to get somewhere? Do I go out of my way to let people merge then? Do I use signals? Do I try to avoid cutting people off? Not always. Impatience gets the best of me.
     That's not all, though. There are plenty of situations (standing in lines, sitting in class, shopping, listening to someone who loves to talk, trying to get your internet/computer/car to start working again, waiting at the DMV) where my patience is seriously tried. How do I act? Sometimes, pretty grumpy and impatient. It's not something I'm proud of and lately, I've felt really convicted of that. Patience is something I should strive for. It's a fruit of the spirit, and an important practice of a Christ-follower.
     And, it's a constant practice of the Lord. What? Yeah. Let's look at two verses. The first is in the second letter of Peter:
"And remember, our Lord's patience gives people time to be saved." - 2 Peter 3:15 (NLT)
"Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation" - 2 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
     In this particular context, Peter is talking about the return of Christ. He addresses the impatience and doubt surrounding the second coming, stating that God's timing is perfect and is patient for the lost. Although God is unhappy and angry by how His people reject him, betray him, and sin against Him, He is patient with us all so that we may have time to repent and be saved. Isn't that crazy? What's also crazy is that we (myself included) sometimes find ourselves a little impatient and ready for His return. Or maybe that is just me. Either way, such impatience neglects and even insults the loving name of our LORD. He has every right at any minute to claim His people and destroy all those who are without faith. He has every right because everything on this earth, including earth, is His alone. And He sits in Heaven and watches every day as His creation is abused and His name is defiled and many of His people are lost and living in sin. He watches, patiently and lovingly. He prolongs His return and His righteous judgement because He wants you and I to be saved by His grace and spend eternity with Him. He says so in the 30th chapter of Isaiah, where our second verse will be:
"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!" - Isaiah 30:18 (NIV)
     Here, God is speaking through Isaiah to His people who, desperate for an ally in battle, chose to trust in Egypt's help instead of His strength. They did everything to defend themselves except pray for the protection of the LORD. They rejected the name of the LORD and went to Egypt for help - the same people who enslaved them and worship idols and reject God the Father. And after showing His people of their mistake, adds that he waits to show them grace, and exalts himself to show them compassion. He uses His great patience and mercy to give His people a way to come back to Him. He could have destroyed the entire nation for what they did, yet He chose instead to be patient.
     I love the magnificent illustration these verses paint concerning God. The fact that He is patient with us even though we really don't deserve it is incredibly gracious. And even more gracious is the fact that His patience means salvation. Because the LORD chooses to be patient, people are saved. What if you knew that being more patient everyday could lead to opportunities for people to be saved by God's grace? What if instead of rushing to get from A to B, we shared and loved? Just something to think about. I know I need to work on it.

in His grip,