Isn’t it interesting the things that stick with us through the years? The smell of the roast beef in the oven when we came home from morning services on Sundays. The faded ornaments that cause us to see those Christmas days when our children were young. Perhaps its the lyric of the song from our teen years (“Nah, nah, nah, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, Hey Jude”) that remind us of cruising the streets, circling McGhees in Kennett, MO, with the windows rolled down singing at the top of our lungs with our friends on a Saturday night.
Sights. Songs. Smells. They open the flood gate of memories of days gone by.
One memory comes to my mind almost everytime I run across the word “patience” in my Bible reading and sermon preparation. It was years, well actually, decades ago. At FBC, Security-Widefield, CO, we were doing a children’s musical on the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). There was that turtle singing, “Have patience. Have patience. Don’t be in such a hurry. When you get impatient. You only start to worry. Remember. Remember, that God is patient too. And think of all the times that others had to wait on you.”
Every time I think of that song I hear that turtle singing ever—so—-sloooowly reminding us that God is patient with us and we are to be patient with each other.
Patience is one of the characteristics of God revealed throughout the Bible. God patiently and graciously works with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. God patiently waits for Noah to build the ark before He sends the rain. He calls on Abraham to patiently obey Him. As Abraham lifts up the knife to Isaac on the altar, God provides the substitute ram for the sacrifice. Second Peter 3:15 instructs us that God is patient in dealing with this sin-ravaged world because there are those who yet need to come to Christ for salvation.
We all know the need for patience in our lives as God works out His plans for us. There are many folks in my life today dealing with the circumstances of life waiting for God to intervene. People struggling with failing marriages, deteriorating health, cancer treatments, getting a job, starting a family, and a host of other situations. All waiting on God to open the door, fix the problem, guide us to His solution, give us strength, help us to be patient on His impeccable timing.
Its hard to be patient. We want things to happen now. In reality, we want God to fix it last week. Yet God calls us to patiently trust His work and His timing. His Word reminds us that He always comes through and when we wait patiently, faithfully on Him, that His good comes into our lives.
In the late 1700’s, William Cowper struggled all his life with ‘melancholy’ (depression). Yet in God’s magnificent providence, Cowper provided Christianity with some wonderful hymns of praise and instruction glorifying a patient God. “Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord Will Provide” is one such hymn.
“The saints should never be dismay’d.
Nor sink in hopeless fear;
For when they least expect his aid,
The Savior will appear.
This Abraham found, he rais’d the knife,
God saw, and said, ‘Forbear’
Yon ram shall yield his meaner life,
Behold the victim there.
When Jonah sunk beneath the wave
He thought to rise no more;
But God prepar’d a fish to save,
And bear him to the shore.
Blest proofs of pow’r and grace divine,
That meet us in his word!
May ev’ry deep-felt care of mine
Be trusted with the LORD.
Wait for his seasonable aid,
And tho’ it tarry wait:
The promise may be long delay’d,
But cannot come too late.”
I love that final stanza. Even though it seems to us that God’s rescue isn’t coming fast enough, it does come. And God is never surprised, caught off guard, or delayed. He knows our plight. He knows our need. He is never late. He is always on time.
“Have patience. Have patience. Don’t be in such a hurry. When you get impatient. You only start to worry. Remember. Remember, that God is patient too.”
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