Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. Amen.
News headlines bring the image of patience to the forefront of different issues. Computer glitches on California and Louisiana school computers has the school districts asking students and parents to be patient until these issues are corrected. Store retailors experiencing decreased sales due to COVID-19 raised the need for investors to be patient and ride out the COVID-19 scare with them. At the AIG Women’s Golf Tournament, Lydia Ko shoots a 71 and notes the importance of patience needed on such a difficult gold course. USA Today writes a finance article calling for each of us to be patient in our investing in todays market. The advice to be patient is being seen more in recent weeks. This serves as an indicator that our society is expressing stress over the concern of COVID-19 and its effects on us.
The Hebrew Biblical word for patience means “slow to anger”. 1 Timothy 1:16 shares, “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” The one who demonstrations “perfect patience” is our God who enters our world in the flesh as Jesus Christ! Historically, God illustrates His perfect patience. The scriptures are littered with illustrations of God’s people drifting from their relationship with God. Moses was chosen to be an instrument of God to bring the people back to the Lord. The prophets again and again, served the Lord by calling God’s people to return back to God. Christ Jesus enters our world as the Messiah, seeking to redeem us. God patiently waited from the creation of Adam and Eve until his arrival in Bethlehem, so that His saving actions could bless us! Timothy records that we are beneficiaries of God’s grace through Jesus the Christ! The point clearly is not only God seeking to set us free from sin, evil, the devil and death, but our God with patience waited for the right moment to make salvation possible through the cross and resurrection of Jesus.
A power verse to draw upon is Ephesians 5:1, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” Paul’s words remind us that our walk in this world has clarity through God. How one thinks, feels, speaks, and acts is grounded in our faith in God. Our model as God’s people is God Himself. Scripture gifts us with a plethora of examples on God’s conversations and God’s actions. Scripture brings clarity and insight at following God’s lead. We are blessed to have especially as Jesus Christ, God’s healing acts, gospel message, and His final moments during Holy Week. Christ Jesus is God’s declaration of love for us! He also displays patience! He patiently works with the crowds. His disciples continually were slow to understand Jesus’ teachings and intentions, and yet our Savior never walked away from them. He patiently encouraged and directed them in their faith walk with God.
The point to be made in this COVID-19 moment is that we should practice patience. We should be slow to anger! Our world is not as it was 6 months ago. We are asked to social distance, wear masks, limit our going out into our community. We are asked stay the course and minimize our contact with others. The tool to assist us is patience, that is God’s patience. Let us follow Jesus’ example of kindness and forgiveness. We should practice the 10 second rule, which means we are to call our anger into check by counting to 10 – 1001, 1002 etc. Using a slow count to deflect our anger towards others keeps us even keeled. Slowly counting enables us to distance ourselves from our emotions and to now approach the issues from a new God-centered way.
Join me as we practice patience anchored in God!