Sticking With Us
Paul stood up and began to speak: “The God of this people Israel made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm God led them out of it. For about forty years God put up with them in the wilderness.” – Acts 13:16-18, excerpts
Ah, people. How often do you hear someone say something like “This-or-that would be awesome if it weren’t for the people!” We tend to ruin everything, don’t we?
God loves us, God promises never to leave us, but sometimes (according to Paul, anyway) God simply puts up with us. How profoundly relatable is that? What keeps God sticking with us? God’s love, for sure. And also, God’s patience with us.
When we reflect on God’s nature, especially personified in and through Jesus, often talk about the attributes of compassion, forgiveness, empathy, etc. One attribute we might want to spend a little more time on is one that doesn’t necessarily make the list all the time: patience. It is a virtue, after all.
Patience is something we have on a spectrum. Perhaps we have more patience for some things or some people than we do for others. Yet no matter where we fall on that spectrum, the fact is none of us would get very far with one another if we didn’t have even just a little bit of patience. Our families often demand a fair amount, as do friends, people at work or at church, or at school, and most certainly we as a human family demand an almost inexhaustible amount of patience from one another. Perhaps, like me, you’ve found your patience in short supply at times through these past months on any given day.
As with so many other things, these are times to look to God for help and for example. We as God’s people almost always do everything wrong in the Bible. Even after crying out to God for deliverance and being rescued out of Egypt by Moses and led through the wilderness to the Promised Land, we thought it was all taking too long and started being really snarky. And, like a parent dealing with a child having a tantrum, God put up with us. I dare say, God’s still doing just that….just look at how we behave.
Thank God for God’s patience. We could all use a little of it, too.
Patient God, thank you for sticking in there with us and for being far more patient with us than we are.