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The Lord’s Patience

I love when the Lord whispers something to me over time. Like this gentle crescendo of information, never early, and certainly never late. Sometimes I act like a thirsty traveler wanting all the information I can right away, but many times He doesn’t give me more. This used to frustrate me. Honestly, sometimes it still does. But thankfully, I’m learning that He doesn’t give when it isn’t time. 


Patience.


It turns out, I’m not so great at it. I’m a “do-er”. I dive all in, right away. I think part of it stems from wanting to do everything with excellence. Not a bad thing in and of itself, but sometimes I make it an idol. Like this invisible badge that I get to wear if I get “it” done well and done quickly. The speed in which I learn has become more important than letting the gift of knowledge move from my head to my heart. The correct order leads to a forever changed heart worshiping at His feet.


This theme of patience is all over the Bible, which is quite the comfort. It speaks volumes to His character. It starts with Adam and Eve. They wanted to know more, to gain more wisdom, but they didn’t obey. They didn’t trust His timing. He was patient with them. Did you ever notice how He asked them questions, even though He knew the answers already? 


But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” - Genesis 3:9


He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?’” - Genesis 3:11


Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?’” - Genesis 3:13a


God could have reprimanded them immediately or told them everything they disobeyed, but instead, He patiently asked questions and waited for their answers. Yes, they had consequences, heavy ones, but He dealt with them patiently. 


Possibly one of the greatest examples of His patience was the Israelites! Forty whole years wandering, when it could have taken less than a month. But God was patient with them. They messed up a lot and He needed to remind them of what was for their good versus what would eventually harm them. Their character needed some improvement, their trust needed some growth, and even their intimate knowledge of the Lord needed to develop. That takes time. You can’t speed through something that needs depth. 


One of my favorite examples of God’s patience is with Peter. I picture Peter as this ready and willing late teen to early twenties boy-man who wanted to please Jesus so much that sometimes he acted before he really thought things through. In Luke 22 we read about the disciples arguing about who will betray Jesus and who is the greatest disciple. Pretty sad when we know what happens next in the story. Later in the chapter we read about Jesus telling Peter he will deny Him three times before He dies. Of course, Peter denies it wholeheartedly, but it happens (Matthew 26:74/ Mark 14:68/ Luke 22:60/ John 18:27). And yet, Jesus does this beyond beautiful act of patience with Peter in John 21:4-19. Peter goes fishing, probably because it is what he is comfortable with, and suddenly Jesus starts making him breakfast on the beach. Three, yes three, times Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him. It’s almost like He is offering him a do-over. He didn’t seem mad, He seemed patient. 


There are countless examples in my own life of Him teaching me through patience. Motherhood. All of it, honestly. I can’t give my children all the information that is swirling around in my brain at any given moment. It would be too much for them. I once started spewing everything I was thinking about: the running to-do list, the ingredients I needed for supper, etc. Three pairs of wide eyes stared back at me. I’m pretty sure my oldest let out an audible sigh. I think God does the same. He has our good in mind, and oftentimes that is His gracious way of not giving us the fullness of something all at once, for it would be too heavy for us. 


Friends, God knows character building takes time. He knows that deep relationships aren’t forged in a day, a week, but in seasons. He never leaves but does allow us to weather seasons in certain ways that will produce the deepest roots. We have a choice. Do we become bitter when we are not seeing the whole picture, or are we grateful we know He is faithful in His timing, trustworthy in His ways, and always working for our good?


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This is beautiful! Thank you Ashley.

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