“I was reading near the end of the apostle Paul’s second letter to his friend Timothy,” Stan began, “and I saw something that really brought back a bunch of memories.”
“Good memories?” I replied, “or bad memories?”
“Neither good nor bad,” Stan responded. “Just memories that, I think, God brought to my mind for me to focus on as a further step in my faith walk.”
“What did Paul write, and what were your memories?” I asked.
“Paul,” Stan said, “wrote to Timothy about being patient in presenting the gospel and in dealing with the people God brought before him.”
“What this brought to my mind,” he continued, “was how amazingly patient God was in relating to me. It took seemingly forever for me to come to the truth of the gospel and to accept the finished work of Christ on the cross so I can anticipate spending eternity with God when it is time.”
“Additionally,” he continued, “it took me a long time to begin to develop a deeper relationship with God on this side of eternity. But throughout it all, God has been and is amazingly patient with me.”
“Why the focus on this?” I asked. “Do you get impatient?”
“You might as well ask me if I breathe!” Stan responded with a smile. “Yes, I tend to get impatient with others. I get impatient about all sorts of things, but especially about those people who are slow to come to the truth of God’s provision of salvation and transformation.”
“And,” he continued, “I can assure you that there is no doubt in my mind that such an attitude of impatience is the exact opposite of what Paul was writing about to me. As well, I think it is the exact opposite of what God wants and expects of me in dealing with other people.”
“The fruit of the Sprit includes patience, does it not?” I asked.
“It does, my friend,” Stan replied, ‘but I have to get myself out of the way so that all of His fruit, including patience, can and will flow in and through me. Getting me out of the way is what Paul reminded me about this morning.”
“Hopefully,” Stan concluded, “I won’t forget, but I also know that I will probably need more reminding about being patient with each person God brings before me for His purposes. That’s the key for me to remember, that it’s for God’s purpose, and my purpose is to be the same as His.”
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your amazing patience with me. Thank you for waiting patiently while I finally decided to accept your free gift of salvation through the finished work of Christ Jesus on the cross so I will spend eternity with you when it is time. And thank you for your patience with me as I develop an ever-deepening relationship with you on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I am not patient with others as you want and as you have been with me. Please forgive me. And please help me in following every step of your lead in only manifesting the patience you intend and provide through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Patience is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Impatience is the fruit of something else. Which fruit Is flowing in and through you? Do you appreciate the patience that God and others show you? What does it feel like when others are impatient with you?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.