by Jhason Smith
“….regard the patience of our Lord as salvation;” -2 Pet. 3:15a
How amazing is it that we have a God Who is patient with us? This is one of the most beautiful expressions of His love towards us, His children. We are all products of His patience, masterpieces of His will (Eph. 2:10).
In the Bible, we read of no one “running with God;” but rather, they simply walked – (Gen. 5:24 [Enoch], Gen. 6:9 [Noah]).
I feel that hidden within the patience God exercises with each of us lies something extremely valuable that we can all glean from, but can be easily overlooked. In this, I am all too familiar with the bondage that comes from drowning in your own guilt and shame when you have “failed” God. I cannot tell you how much time I have wasted dwelling on the thought, “God is disgusted with me” or “He’s so upset with me,” after I made a choice to indulge in any given vice of mine. I knew that He loved me, and that He forgives me, but that still didn’t help with the emotions of feeling as if I was a complete failure every time I returned to my sin. And yet, every time I failed, He was there, standing firm, patiently waiting. This too turned into a weight of its own that I dreaded facing. Not only was I dealing with the fact of coming to Him and admitting my faults (as if He was unaware of them in the first place), but explaining it to the epitome of faithfulness and love that this world will ever know—all while retaining the fact that He would still be there afterwards and wouldn’t dream of abandoning me. Like kicking a cute puppy that loves you over and over only to watch it return to you again and again with a wagging tail, beaming with excitement.
“How can it be that He’s patient with me when I continue to do the things that I know I shouldn’t?”, I would ask myself. When I would dwell on the image that this paints of the Almighty God not frantically running away in disgust every time I sinned, but simply standing still with His loving gaze fixed firmly on me, deep down, in my honesty, I found that it made me uncomfortable to accept. I began to see that this was the same for other Christians as well. But why? What I realized shocked me. I discovered that what I truly wanted was anything but His patience. I found that I wanted Him to run. I wanted to feel that He was upset with me. Out of the depths of my heart, these thoughts echoed loudly. But to my surprise, and to my defeat, in the middle of my sin, He wouldn’t move, not a single inch.
The reason why Christians have a hard time easily accepting that God is patient with us in our darkest moments is because His patience uncovers a lie hidden deep within our hearts that we secretly believe. A lie can be told so much that, eventually, it will begin to sound like the truth. And when I would find myself returning to the filth of my sin, I would hear within myself the countless lies that would convict me of being a hypocrite, a liar, a failure, and worthless. Time after time, the wrong things began to sound right, and I began to unknowingly accept them as truth, building layers upon them in my heart.
This was the source of my discomfort when I would think about God’s patience for me in my weakness. I felt that I didn’t deserve it. In my mind, I knew that grace was a free gift, of which no man could earn (Eph. 2:8-9), but with my heart, I felt this desire that wished He would express His disappointment in me. But, no matter how hard I wished, it never happened. And it will NEVER happen. Because If God abandoned us in our sin then it would affirm the lie that deep down we wish with all of our hearts were true; that we are a disappointment, unable to overcome, dirty, and worthless person.
By believing this, we are asking God (who is Truth) to become something that He cannot; a lie. And He will never do it. Not even for the ones He loves the most—His children. So then, what is His patience telling us? If my lie told me that I was two-faced, a disappointment, and was never going to be victorious; and all that it would take to prove this was for God to “give up” on me, then in Him staying, with great patience towards me, it proves the exact opposite. His patience proves to me that I am cherished, holy, and valuable. I am His beloved, His child. I am victorious, righteous, and clean through Jesus Christ. What a beautiful way of expressing His love to us. I thought for the longest time that the only reason He was patient was because He was waiting for me to become a better, holier person. But I’ve come to realize that He patiently waits because I already am His best. God isn’t patient with us; God is patient for us. The true intent of His great patience towards us is not to tell of how great He is, but how valuable we are. And that is the truth.
Wherever this post may find you, cease trying to fix yourself in order to return to the presence of God. Instead, simply come, which is His only requirement [Matt. 11:28], because it is the presence of God that fixes you.
Jhason and his wife Brittany have been married since January 2013 and live in the greater Nashville, Tennessee area where they are both youth pastors at Eastgate Creative Christian Fellowship. They also possess a big passion for the worship music of the Church at large and desire to see people have a deep encounter with God in worship. They are actively involved in their church’s worship team and seek to express a new sound of worship that ministers to the hearts of people and introduces them to the heart of God. Jhason is 23 years old.