Patience is a virtue, or a super power, some people say. Either way, it’s not something I possess in abundance. I don’t pray for patience either. The last time I prayed for patience, God didn’t give me patience, He put me in a situation where I would need to be patient. Apparently, the best way to get patience is to be forced to exercise it. That may be why I am so amazed when I see those nature documentaries where the guy with the British accent tells about the animal being highlighted as being a patient hunter. “He may wait for days for his prey to appear.” Nope, that’s not me. If I wait for more than a few minutes, I’m ready to move on.
Sadly, when I look at our world today, I don’t seem to be that unusual. We live in such a fast-paced world that it seems like patience is more of a hindrance than a virtue. No longer will we wait for the “film at eleven” when watching the news, we want on the spot video, and if the news won’t show it, we check out various video sharing sites. We expect to be at the top of our career within months after graduating from college. And, we don’t want to wait on God’s timing, we want Him to return now! “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives…” (2 Peter 3:9-11 NIV)
Perhaps we aren’t so impatient on that issue after all. Peter had to remind first century Christians not to be impatient while they waited for the return of Jesus. It had been less than fifty years since Jesus’ ascension and they were wondering why God was so slow in returning. We’ve seen almost 2000 years pass and we’re beginning to wonder what’s taking God so long to come back. Peter, in another part of this letter noted that a thousand years was like a day to God, so while we worry about how long it seems to us, it’s really been only a couple of days in God’s eyes. Peter also reminded his readers that the return of the Lord would seem cataclysmic end to this world and that because of that, they shouldn’t give up on righteous living, but instead, ought to live holy and godly lives.
Peter wanted his readers to stay true to God, knowing that we’ll all face Him one day. This same admonition applies to us today. When it comes time for the final judgement I’ll stand before God forgiven and not guilty because of the work of Jesus Christ. I want God to be pleased though. I don’t want Him to see my entrance into His presence as a mistake or a fluke. I know that there will be some people who may see me in God’s presence, surprised that I’d be there because of my past, but I pray that those who encounter me from here on out will recognize that my presence with God in Heaven is just a continuation of my presence with Him here on earth. I pray that my life will be so holy and godly that it will draw others into a relationship with God through Jesus.
Oh Lord, I can be so impatient. Teach me patience. In the meanwhile, let me live such a holy and godly life that others are drawn to You.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.