“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6
At low points in our lives, we may be tempted to think we don’t really matter to God. The struggles of earthly life can sometimes overwhelm us, and cause us to feel like God is far away. But when we come to grips with the overwhelming evidence that God loves and cares for us we realize that He will never leave or forsake us: we can find real security in the arms of our Heavenly Father.
We matter to God. He knows each of us intimately and loves us in spite of our sins, failures, and weaknesses. No matter where we are in life, He still cares for us, and His promises have never failed.
Look at 1 John 3:1-3: “See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.”
Sure we know in our head that God is for us, that there’s great hope in His relationship with us and salvation for us. And God is patient. Patient probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when we think of God. We might think of faithful or powerful and love. God cares about us so He is patient.
As Christians, God doesn’t show us patience based on our behavior – patience is who He is. He said so Himself: “I am the Lord God. I am merciful and very patient with my people. I show great love, and I can be trusted.” (Exodus 34:6 CEV). By offering us His patience, He offers us Himself. We don’t “deserve” patience and we sure can’t earn it. God is patient because He will never cease to be who He is. And get this: because God’s nature is unchanging, He was and is and always will be patient with us.
Peter, of all people, knew God’s patience: “The Lord isn’t slow about keeping his promises, as some people think he is. In fact, God is patient, because he wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost.” (2 Peter 3:9 CEV). A couple of verses later, Peter says, “… our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved.” (2 Peter 3:15).
As I reflect on His patience toward me – toward us – I remember He is still patiently waiting for others. This journey of experiencing God’s patience isn’t solely for ourselves or to “learn a lesson.” Though He does show He cares about us. But God cares about those far from the heart of God. We should extend His patience with everyone who crosses our path.
- How do you know that God cares for you?
- What can you do this week to extend the patience of God to others?