Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation.
2 Peter 3:15a
There’s an old Jewish story about Abraham. Abraham was sitting outside his tent when an old, weary man came by. Abraham invited him in and fixed him a meal. As they sat down to eat, however, the old man dived right into his food without even a prayer.
“Don’t you believe in God?” asked Abraham. “No,” the man replied. Indignant, Abraham sent the man away without another word.
Later, the Lord came to Abraham. “Where’s the stranger?” the Lord asked. “Lord, he did not believe in you, and so I sent him away.” And the Lord replied, “Abraham, I’ve been patient with that man for eighty years. Couldn’t you be patient with him for one night?”
It’s just a non-biblical story, of course. Nevertheless, it does illustrate a very biblical truth. Before we get too far into the new year, take a moment to look back into the old. How many times did you and I come up with noble-sounding reasons for giving in to raw impatience towards others? How I treated that new co-worker who was just learning the ropes? How I treated the nurses at the hospital when they were clearly short-staffed? How I treated my elderly parent who tends to repeat things?
How many times, under the guise of righteous indignation, did you and I write off the souls around us—the souls of those who do not yet know Jesus as their Savior from sin?
Thank God that he has been patient with us. Thank God that he brings us to repentance again and again. Thank God that he comes to us with his forgiveness in Jesus again and again. As Peter says to us, it’s the Lord’s patience that means salvation.
Lord, thank you for your patience in my life. Thank you for your forgiveness of my sins in Jesus. Strengthen my resolve to demonstrate patience towards others. Amen.