I'm in line at the grocery store and in a hurry, but the person in front of me is taking their long list of coupons out one by one. I'm in the car and I want nothing more than to honk my horn at the inconsiderate driver in front of me. I'm at church and the message isn't exactly what I wanted to hear and I shake my leg in anticipation for the lunch afterward. My husband takes a tone with me, I'm already in a bad mood from the days goings on, and I want nothing more than to lay into him. Patience. It's the characteristic that we know we should posess but our supply seems to continually whane thin. How do we fashion our character so that we're slow to act and quick to forgive? If you've done any research there are plenty of self help books that list rules and guides about how to become more patient, how to practice fine tuning our thinking...but somehow I think we've missed the real issue. The heart issue. Looking over the Grand Canyon this week I realized something that I think we've all missed, or at least temporarily forgotten. God's patience. How deep and how wide must God's patience and His love be? From Adam and Eve, to Noah's wicked generation, to Israels continual betrayal; God's patience is tested over and over again. But God's heart is for us. And so He continues to love us, to be patient with us. 2 Peter 3:15 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation... And here's the key heart issue. The root of the root is love. God's second greatest commandment, to love others.... wait there's a word missing there. To unconditionally love others. That's the root of having patience. God unconditionally loves us (He sacrificed His Son for us you know), His patience is never ending and His hand is stayed. Because God's heart is for us, our heart should be for others. If you have love for the bad driver in front of you, I think you'd stay your hand from your horn. If you had love for your husband, even if his words were harsh, I bet you would stay your tongue from angery darts. You see, the bible is full of patient, love filled women. Mary, who bore ridicule and an almost divorce over her immaculate conception; Abigail who suffered quietly under a fool of a husband only to be rewarded by becoming one of the King's wives; Deborah who was the only one "man" enough to ride out into battle; Ruth who traveled to a foreign country as a widow, the poorest of the poor; Esther whose constant love and patience won over the heart of a King and saved her people. These women, these beautiful women changed the course of history for their worlds. That's what we're called to do. We never know who our gentle patience and love could affect. We never know the lives we touch by a simple act of patience, kindness, or love. How beautiful is the patience and the love of God? How beautiful are those that take that patience and love to those that have never known it? Yes, how beautiful indeed.
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