Topic: Faith Scripture: Genesis 12:1–12:9, Joshua 21:43–21:45
Remember the days when pictures took multiple days to get developed, Christmas presents were bought in a mall, and special items were mail-ordered from a catalogue and took weeks before you could reasonably expect them to arrive? Today we have Amazon Prime with guaranteed two-day delivery, and when an item takes longer we groan and complain. Patience is a character trait that increasingly rare.
The Fruit of the Spirit of patience might seem like a lesser-important fruit than something like love or joy or faithfulness. Patience doesn’t usually seem like a big deal. But he who is faithful with the little things will be faithful in the big. If you cannot wait for a delayed Amazon order or if you freak out in traffic, what makes you think that you’ll handle bigger problems with godly patience? Afterall, those seemingly insignificant instances probably demonstrate our heart far more accurately than the larger moments in life when we seek counsel and really think about the right way to handle things.
Nearly 500 years passed between God’s promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-9 ) and the twelve tribes of Israel each receiving their own territories in the Promised Land (Joshua 21:43-45). That’s a long time! 2 Peter 3:8-9 points to God’s patience this way, “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you….” This isn’t even to mention the additional wait for the Messiah, the chosen one who would fulfill the Abrahamic Promise for the salvation of all people. And yet, “Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass” (Joshua 21:45).
The impatient heart cries out “my will be done in my way and in my timing.” But the godly heart lives with patience because of faith in God’s good plan. Even when we experience frustration at the delay of God’s promises, we cast our eyes to the Lord and whisper, “I trust you.” We live with patience in small things (like Amazon and traffic) and in big things (like seeing relationships restored or finding ‘my place’ in this world) because we trust God’s plan for us is good and He is unfolding that plan every day.