God is Patient

It took forever for the butterfly to land, but he was well worth the wait. God thinks you are too.

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Within the past several weeks, a few dear friends have called me and shared their struggle to trust God. I told them that remembering who God is (the character of God) and what He has done (the work of God) can help us find peace in uncertainty and turmoil. The Bible is filled with instances of God telling His warriors and disciples who He was and what He had done. When everything was falling apart and things didn't make sense, His identity and actions comforted and encouraged them to cling to His sovereignty and power. God never changes, so remembering that that is the same God we serve can comfort and encourage us to do the same.

It's solid, life-changing truth. I believe God gave it to me to encourage those women, and it felt applicable to my life, too. But sometime between when I said the words and hung up the phone, my heart got distracted and I soon forgot to live out the very words I had spoken over my friends. Have you been there?

Restlessness in my life situation and bitterness towards others (including my husband) crept into my heart. I needed to spend time in God's Word and in prayer, listening to the Spirit. But instead, I listened to another voice, the same voice who lied to Eve. "You don't look very much like Jesus right now because you aren't doing enough for Him. When are you going to start serving the Lord? You aren't all that He is calling you to be. And by ministering to your husband and tending to your household, you are wasting precious time you could be doing something worthwhile for His kingdom."

I now recognize those thoughts as the disgusting lies that they were, but it took me 2 weeks of feeling like I was failing before I discovered I was doing exactly what God was calling me to do. And frankly, it took me 2 weeks to realize that I was believing Satan's lies because I hadn't been in the Word. Yes, the very thing I posted about not too long ago had already left me and I had forgotten that closeness with God acts as a shield from the lies of the Evil One. I know us bloggers rarely write about our mistakes twice. We often post about a struggle that God is healing in our lives, and our readers subconsciously believe that every thing we've posted about is somehow better now that we've shared it. But it isn't. We're no different than you. We fail....we always fail...again.

How patient is our God?? How many times will He put up with our shortcomings? Doesn't He get weary of waiting for us to hit a "winning streak" of righteousness? I tend to see God as patient, until about the 9 billionth time I mess up. That's when I sit down with Him again, assuming He's pouting in a way that only God can, confessing to me how hurt He's been and how many times He's needed me and I wasn't there.

That's ridiculous! God doesn't need us to be Himself! He isn't a dejected boyfriend. He doesn't pine away, waiting for you to text Him back, wondering why you haven't returned any of His letters or calls. He knows us. Intimately. Knows why we're late, why we've been putting off time with Him. And that perfect patience is continual and absolutely fixed in His very being. He is constant and suffers long, ever forgiving, with a pure and righteous patience.

The Lord is compassionate and merciful, 

slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

He will not constantly accuse us, 

nor remain angry forever.

He does not punish us for all our sins; 

he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.

For his unfailing love toward those who fear him

is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.

He has removed our sins as far from us, 

as the east is from the west.

The Lord is like a father to his children, 

tender and compassionate to those who fear him.

For he knows how weak we are; 

he remembers we are only dust.

Psalm 103:8-14

A few nights ago, I was wrestling with a restless mind, full of the things I have been struggling with. I tried to sort them out silently while my dear husband lay quietly next to me, ready for sleep. Sensing my mental turmoil and knowing that I'm a verbal processor, he asked what I was thinking. In my stubbornness, it took me forever to admit the lies and nastiness that had crept into my heart. When I finally shared, we were able to resolve a few things together and my mind rested. Why was I so reluctant? And if that is what a sinner saved by grace can do with God's power, how much more can our Perfect Lover do?! Every time you don't come to Him because you don't think He can handle your junk, He longs to reassure you that He is SO good at problem-solving, at peace-giving. That He is so patient with creatures of dust like you and I. My pastor says that stubbornness is a sign of pride. Talk about conviction... Sadly, I've been so focused on myself, my shortcomings and insecurities, that I have taken my eyes off the One who has rescued me from those things. Praise the Lord, He has lifted my eyes to gaze once again on His everlasting patience.

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Written By: Rebekah Barnett

My husband and I do life with our cat Phoebe in a cozy one-bedroom apartment in Birmingham, Alabama. He's a youth pastor, I'm a writer. As a wife and homemaker, every day comes with a challenge to live simply, frugally, and contentedly. I love to blog, thrift, and re-decorate regularly. Read more of my journey here.