Romans 15:5

May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.

In our enlightened, can-do age, patience is seen as more weakness than virtue: it is for those who can’t invent a solution or aren’t physically fit to climb the stairs when the lift is slow. Patience is for those who can’t get their own way.

But repeatedly the Bible teaches us that God I,s at once, all-powerful and patient. In other words, he is not patient because he has to be, but because he wants to be. In fact if, in his omnipotence, there is anything left to do of all God desires, then we see in that period of waiting the patience of God.

As someone has observed,

“God charted the course of the universe according to his patience.”

Patience, then, being an attribute of God, is not a weakness but a virtue. It is not only to be exercised because we can’t get our way; it is to be exercised because God is getting his way. God is never anxious, perturbed, or distressed and so we do not need to be either, if we are trusting in him.

It is crucial, however, that we do not assume that the patience of God toward us will last forever. He will not always wait; one day he will fulfil all his pleasure, saving some and condemning others.

Do not presume upon the longsuffering that he has shown toward you. As Paul warns, Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Romans 2:4).

If the patient, goodness of God does not lead you to repentance, then you have misunderstood its purpose.

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