There’s a big, green button at the paint counter of my local hardware store. When you press it, an assistant is supposed to serve you within 60 seconds. If they’re late, you get a discount on your paint.
“Thou shall not wait” seems to be the modern world’s new commandment. And so we have fast food, speed dating, rapid weight loss, next-day delivery, and 60-second service at the hardware store.
While instant fulfillment has brought much convenience, it has a downside. Notice how annoyed we get when the bus is late, the queue is long, or the meals are slow to our tables? Notice our frustration when the illness lingers or our prayers aren’t quickly answered? When “Thou shall not wait” is the mantra, patience becomes a lost virtue.
God is patient. He’s slow to anger, extends grace to both saint and sinner, and spends eons waiting for humanity to repent (Exodus 34:6; Matthew 5:45; 2 Peter 3:9). When God came physically to earth, He spent 9 months awaiting birth, 30 years acquiring knowledge He previously had, and rejected every shortcut He was ever offered (Matthew 4:1-7, 26:53). God’s Spirit also points to patience (Galatians 5:22). And when Paul calls us to live differently than the world, including being patient, he does so after saying we’re “hidden” in this three-in-one God (Colossians 3:1-12). Instead of trying to be patient by our own means, we have inside access to divine patience.
While patience may be a lost virtue, it’s also a revolutionary act. By being patient today with others by God’s strength (Colossians 3:13), and even with God Himself (who doesn’t promise 60-second service), we can be countercultural witnesses in a hyperactive world to His ever-patient ways.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Matthew 21:1-17
Read 1 Timothy 1:16 and meditate on God’s great patience.
In what common circumstances are you most impatient? How can you allow God’s patience to dwell in you during those times?