Have you ever been in a situation where you were trying to teach someone and he or she was having a difficult time understanding the concept or stumbling in the performance of the task? Maybe you were on the phone with a friend describing a computer program with multiple clicks and pull-down menus. Maybe your aged parent was maneuvering the mouse pointer on-screen agonizingly slowly and you wanted to grab the mouse and just do it yourself. Maybe your own child just could not seem to get his or her shoes tied fast enough.
When we consider that God can traverse the universe with a thought, why would He be willing to hang around and wait for a million or two slaves to slowly, slooowly, s-l-o-w-l-y walk day by day to the foot of Mt. Sinai? Of course it was impossible for them to go any faster and the cloud that led them patiently proceeded at their pace.
God’s unfolding revelation of truth and spiritual concepts proceeded in the same manner. God led the Israelites spiritually no faster than they were able to assimilate and understand—although it appears that as a nation, they never really did understand or follow God’s plan. What does this tell us about one of the qualities of God’s character? Patience! And what does this tell us about the quality of patience we need when we read, “Here is the patience of the saints…”? Rev. 14:12
If it is impossible, or nearly so, for some older folks to easily gain hand-eye coordination, why would we become upset or angry? Would we scream at our child to “just tie it faster!” if it is impossible for them to do so? In the same way, what kind of patience do we need when new Christians come into the church? What kind of steady patient reliance on God’s timing of last day events is needed by us? But the question cuts even closer: since when have we arrived at God’s plan for us individually as well as corporately? Aren’t we also in desperate need of God’s patience?
“We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves…For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:1, 4-6 (NKJV)
Dennis Hollingsead works in the Office of Development at Andrews University.
Photo Credit: FreeImages.com / Stefan Karlsson
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