Over these last several weeks, we have looked at different attributes of God. He is infinite, but it’s good for us to think about Him, and learn as much as we can about who God is. First, we looked at God’s creativity, then His majesty, and last week we looked at His Holiness. So, this week, we’re going to take a deep look at God’s patience.
Whenever we read the Old Testament, a lot of what we see is God saving the Israelites, like when He brought them out of Egypt and rescued them from slavery, or when He delivered them from the evil nations around them, using warriors like Samson and David. A lot of times, He did some of the most amazing miracles to do so—like the parting of the Red Sea, a young boy killing a giant, and Samson’s strength helping him slay thousands of Philistines in one battle. But we also see the Israelites’ response to these miracles. After God parted the Red Sea and paved a way for them to freedom, when they got in the desert, they started to worry and complain. They feared they would starve. So, guess what God did? He gave them mana to eat. Then, they got tired of eating mana all day. They even went so far as to say that, “Well, at least in Egypt we ate good!”
I don’t know about you, but that would have tried my patience.
Yet God still continued to provide for them. Instead of smiting them, like I might have in my intense anger, God still made them His chosen people. No matter how many times we as humans have chosen sin over Him—from the time of Noah to today—God still provided a way for us to be saved from our sins through Jesus.
But let’s look at a specific example. One of my favorite verses in the entire Bible is found in this passage, during the burning bush where God tells Moses to go to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let His people go. Moses literally says, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor sense You have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
Then, God responds with one of my favorite verses in the Bible, “Who made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”
You would think that’d be enough to convince anyone. But Moses still makes more excuses. “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.”
That’s when God decides to send Aaron with Moses to help Him. Any parent knows when a child makes excuses it can be infuriating. Even as a writer, I know when I’m making excuses to myself. “I don’t want to write tonight. I’m tired; I’ve had a long day. I’d rather be doing this over here. I can write tomorrow.”
Yet God is ever patient with us.
I tried to bring this out in my parallel burning bush scene in Hunter, Book One of the Valiant Series. Here’s a short snippet from it:
The words reached a deeper part of me, a part that only the warmth of his presence could reach. “How? How am I supposed to set them free? I can’t fight all of the Hunters—not alone,” I protested.
“You are never alone.”
I sighed, and shook my head, gesturing beside me. “Do you see any other Hunters willing to turn on them? No. They’re all completely loyal to Hindah. I don’t stand a chance. I—I can’t even keep all the prisoners alive, much less set them free! This place is inescapable—”
“Who is really in control? These Hunters? Or God above? Did you not hear anything that your friends spoke of? Did that not rekindle something you felt inside yourself, something you had been missing for quite some time? Never forget who is truly in charge. It is not the Hunters.”
The voice rose, reverberating around the entire woods. The force of the warming presence overwhelmed me, and I fell face-first into the ground.
God is so loving and patient with us. Even when He is angry—justifiably, because He is also always holy and just—He still loves us and maintains His patience. You know the saying “someone knows how to push your buttons?” Like, that moment when something gets past the point of irritating you, and you snap? We all have our “breaking points” so to speak, and yes, there will come a day when God washes His hands of evil once and for all, but He is always patient with His children.
In the Bible, there’s a passage where one of Jesus’ disciples asks Jesus how many times we should forgive someone. And Jesus says 70 times 7. God forgave the Israelites again and again, and constantly freed them and brought them out of the oppression that their sin had led them to.
We may make mistakes—many of them, in fact. But God is still patient with us. It’s the story of the prodigal son, where the Father is standing with his arms open wide, waiting for us to return to Him.
He is still waiting on you with the loving patience only the Father of the universe could have.