God’s Loving Patience
“You gotta be kidding me!”
“Nope. I heard it myself.”
“But we’re messengers, fighters, emissaries, not singers!”
“Well, we won’t be singing, but we are assigned as part of a heavenly host making a grand announcement. I’m not sure what the event is but I hear it’s big.”
“I guess I’ll go if I have to, but I want to be on record I’m not happy about it!”
I imagined this make-believe dialog between two angels preparing to go and proclaim the coming of the Savior to the shepherds that first Christmas day.
Luke gives us the account: “8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
We pick up the conversation after they return . . .
“That was UNBELIEVABLE!! We were a part of announcing the Lord’s birth. Can you believe it?”
“Just think we were one of the few who were there when the most significant, pivotal event in history began. And you didn’t want to go.”
Although there is no biblical basis for the above conversation, and I truly doubt it took place, I wonder if we could even imagine angels getting upset when they were called on to do a function or task whether great or small.
According to Scripture, angels were created by God to serve Him in whatever capacity He chooses. Except for the one time they were given the choice to follow Satan in his rebellion, angels exist to obey God’s command and direction without question or complaint.
Whether giving a prophetic revelation to Daniel, guarding a child, or simply declaring God’s holiness, angels perform their assignment eagerly and willingly.
I, on the other hand, am not an angel. [No comments :)]
I find myself regularly debating with the Lord, even arguing at times, when He gives me a command or direction.
I have seen Him work in my life over and over again. I have experienced His faithfulness countless times. He has brought me through situations in ways I never expected or even imagined.
Yet as I face a new challenge (or the same challenge again) or understand something He wants me to do or change I often am slow to yield and obey. I still wrestle mentally with Him and am reluctant to move as He directed.
What is encouraging is that God doesn’t smite me when I don’t quickly comply or when I grapple with Him and His leading.
Psalm 103:13, 14 tell us, “Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.”
God knows we are human and that we are not always willing to yield and obey quickly. He does deal with sin, but He allows us to work through areas He is directing in our lives.
I think of Abraham when he was told to leave his family and go to the land God would show him. He took his nephew Lot with him. God eventually had them separate but at first He allowed Abraham to not fully comply.
Then there’s Peter. The man with “hoof-in-mouth” disease. He was always saying or doing something out of line. Jumping to conclusions, making bold proclamations without thinking. And yet the Lord continued to work with him letting him develop and grow even after he denied Him three times.
And what about Thomas aka Doubting Thomas. He didn’t believe the Lord had risen or that the others had seen Him or that He had a glorified body. But Jesus appeared once especially for him so he would see and believe.
The Lord knows our frailties, He knows we are not always quick to listen and obey. He knows there are times we question.
This is not to say we should take advantage of God’s tolerance and always be slow about responding because the Bible is clear that He lovingly disciplines his wayward children. But His patience should remind us of His undying love for us and willingness to work with us right where we are while He is developing our growth and maturity.
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:8, 10, 11, 12 Mark Armstrong