How does God have patience with us?

Published 1:37 pm Thursday, September 22, 2022

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“God waits until he gets his turn,” says Savannah, age 5.
His turn?
Yikes! This sounds like something my elementary school principal might have said when I was called to his office.
God has patience with us “by waiting in line,” says Ashton, 5. I suppose he’s waiting in line to get his turn. Perhaps Ashton was considering how we make God wait in line while we try to solve our own problems apart from him.
“God has patience with me and everyone else because we all mess up a lot,” says Gary, 10. “Twenty-four hours a day, someone is sinning,” adds Andrew, 11.
Or as Emily, 8, says, “God knows what’s going on.”
“God has patience with us because he is so, so, so very nice,” says Christian, 7. Yes, God is gracious for not judging us immediately when we sin against him. But don’t mistake God’s slowness to anger for a compromise of his righteousness. His patience gives us time to turn to him.
“If God didn’t have patience, we wouldn’t be here right now,” says Peter, 10.
Yes, we wouldn’t be “here” to “hear” God patiently calling us. The Apostle Paul wrote that those who harden their hearts against God store up his wrath against themselves for Judgment Day. Another translation reads “treasuring up for yourself wrath” (Romans 2:5).
Who in their right mind would want to invest in a “Wrath Account” administered by God?
“God has patience with us because he is perfect,” says Madeline, 11. “God knows we are like sheep and are not smart. God knows we are sinners and need His mercy. God can give us His mercy when we ask for it.”
Sheep grazing in green valleys seem so peaceful. It’s easy to forget that sheep are not the brightest of God’s creatures. Without a good shepherd, they’re vulnerable to all kinds of hazards.
The prophet Isaiah wrote: “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
In the ultimate paradox, Jesus is both the sacrificial lamb who dies for the sins of the world and the good shepherd who gives his life for the sheep.
“God has patience with us because he had to sit and watch his son die on the cross,” says Trey, 11. “He is waiting for us to believe in him,” adds Elizabeth, 9.
“God wants us to be patient with others to show them we are Christians,” says Sarah, 10.
One of the biblical words used for patience is “perseverance.” It’s not just passively tolerating unpleasant circumstances. It’s active endurance in the face of adversity. The Apostle Paul wrote to new Christians at Corinth that the signs of an apostle, which included miracles, were “accomplished among you with all perseverance.”
Sarah is right on target. If Christians belong to a patient Father, his patience should be reflected in their lives. Persevering patience among Christians is one of the best advertisements to those who don’t know Jesus. Try turning the other cheek after you’ve been slapped with injustice, ridicule or scorn for believing in a man who rose from the dead almost 2,000 years ago.
Think about this: Patience is perseverance in the face of adversity or injustice.
Memorize this truth: “For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Hebrews 12:3).
Ask this question: Is Jesus prompting you to show his patience to someone?
(Kids Talk About God is designed for families to study the Bible together. Research shows that parents who study the Bible with their children give their character, faith and spiritual life a powerful boost.)

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