Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Power of Patience

By Wendy Custer

Shortly after Jessie and her puppies arrived, a family, who had recently lost their elderly beagle, discovered that we were looking for homes for the pups. We invited them to come by to pick out a puppy, and Austin and his parents wasted no time in choosing Lightning for the new addition to their family. Knowing that their puppy was not even close to leaving his mother, we encouraged Austin's family to visit Lightning often as he continued to grow. Every week since then,, they have come to play with Lightning and his brothers and sisters.

The puppies are five weeks old now, and Austin and his mom and dad made their weekly visit today. They are amazed at how much the puppies have grown each week. As he played with his new friend, Austin expressed his impatience at having to wait for three more weeks to take Lightning home with him. "Austin is not used to having to wait for anything." his mom explained, "But he knows that it is what is best for Lightning."

We studied patience in Sunday School earlier today, and I was amazed at how swiftly God was giving me an example in living color. I felt Him giving me a clear picture of what patience really meant this morning. In my Sunday School book I had written in the margin, "Patience is letting go of something I want for the benefit of someone else." Apparently, God wanted to impress this lesson on my heart today!

Austin really wanted to take his puppy home today! He was having fun playing with him and it was getting harder and harder to leave him behind each week. If he took him home, however, it would actually be harmful for Lightning. Austin was learning to give up something he wanted for the benefit of someone else!

God has given us the most beautiful example of this very lesson! In 2 Peter 3:9, God shows us what patience really looks like. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. Though He is our maker, and He has chosen us for His very own, God waits for us until we are ready. He certainly has the power to make us His at any time, but He knows that it will be better if the time is right.

If the Lord can wait patiently for His children to choose Him, how much more should we patiently await the salvation of others. This does not not mean that we should just sit idly by, waiting for the eyes of the unbelievers to be opened. Instead, we should follow the example of Austin. We should continually spend time with those who have yet to enter the family of God. We should love on them, be kind to them, and work to build a relationship with them. When we join God in this patient process, we will encourage others to want to join us in His family.

Often, being patient will require me to let go of something I want for the benefit of the person who has not yet chosen God. I must decide - what is more important than the salvation of one of God's children? Is getting my way, no matter how significant it may seem, worth risking an opportunity for someone to see God's grace?

Every time Austin leaves my house without his puppy, it gets harder and harder. But each time he visits, Lightning is closer to finding his permanent home. Austin may be learning a tough lesson now, but in reality, he is building a relationship that is changing a life!

Romans 12:10 says, "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves." What better way to honor another, than to give up your own desires for the sake of their very life? Only God can give us the ability to do this, but it is His desire that we join Him in actively waiting for the repentance of all!

Austin was sad when he left my house today, but under his sadness was the excitement of anticipation. He knows what God knows - love is worth the wait!

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
2 Peter 3:8

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