February 27, 2023

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

-2 Peter 3:9

“Patience is a virtue.”  How many times have we heard that phrase thrown around, or maybe even used it as a personal mantra to convince ourselves to wait, to slow down, to be patient?  I speak only for myself, but I know some of you may smile in agreement, patience is in short supply to a motorcyclist who has to put their ride up for the winter!  Again, I know there are some of you who are diehard riders, no matter the weather, but I guess I’m just soft.  Kentucky winters can be bitterly cold and they can also be filled with snow.  Of course, there is another side to a Kentucky winter and that is where we can often experience all four seasons in a single day!  Today’s date is February  25 and it is currently 37 degrees this morning.  Three days ago we were hitting 80 degrees as our high temperature!  Of course, on that particular day I was stuck at work and did not get the joy of riding at all.  Since Thanksgiving Day, I have had the opportunity to ride my motorcycle, exactly 4 times.  Talk about someone who is getting antsy!  A good friend of mine just came through hip replacement surgery, earlier this week, and I cannot begin to imagine his impatience with his recovery as we approach the start of the riding season.  I know I said I speak for myself only, but I honestly do not know of any motorcyclist who can stand to see their two-wheeled beauty, or three wheels for that matter, sitting for too long.  My pastor has even admitted to just going out to the garage and starting his up, letting run for a bit, just so he can enjoy the sound!  Who am I kidding?  I can’t  lie, I’ve done it too.  Last night, I went out to check the battery tender and found myself sitting in the saddle, just wishing I was out on the road.  I’ve got it bad, really bad and I am ready to get out and get moving.  Patience may be a virtue, but I just don’t think it is one of those gifts bestowed upon bikers, at least when it comes to riding.  There are other avenues of our lives where we may exhibit complete, and admirable patience, but waiting to ride is not one of them.

I have an hour drive to work, one way, and this is often the time I use to think about these devotions and what I want to focus on for the upcoming weekly devotion.  Sometimes I come up with an idea and almost immediately discredit it because I think it’s too much of a stretch, other times I get immediately excited and I cannot wait to start outlining the message and getting into the Bible to seek the truth about the weekly topic.  The idea of patience almost became one that i discredited, but I couldn’t shake it.  It just kept coming back to the forefront of my mind.  Then I started looking at it through the lens of a motorcyclist and I also looked at the circumstances of my life at that moment.  A week prior, I had interviewed for a new role in my job, one that I was deeply excited about.  The morning of my interview, I prayed for God’s will to be done in the situation, but there was a part of me that still hoped my wish aligned with God’s will.  What can I say?  I’m not perfect.  Well, needless to say, I did not get the new job and I pouted for a few days, but I changed my mindset and truly accepted that this was not what God had in mind for me, at least not yet.  I had to be patient and wait on what He has in store for me, rather than praying for His will to be done while secretly hoping He would bend His will to my desires.  Our world has ingrained this sense of immediate gratification on each and every one of us.  We can have packages delivered to our homes in a day or two, food can be delivered to our home within a half hour, we can see the latest news as it is happening at any moment we desire.  We have gotten to the point where if we can’t get it right now, we won’t wait, we will find another way to make it happen in our time.  And that is the problem.  We always seem to focus on OUR time, rather than God’s time.  Our timing is flawed and self-serving.  God’s time is perfect.  It’s that simple, there’s the end of the devotion, except I haven’t stayed true to my desire to see the Great Commission fulfilled, so that means there is more!

Think about someone you care about, deeply, someone you have prayed for incessantly, hoping to see the day that they accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Do you find yourself growing impatient?  If you do, that’s because this is something YOU want more than anything and you are trying to make it happen in YOUR time.  We are called to “make disciples” not force people to follow Christ.  We plant the seed, we share the Gospel, share our testimony, and love others like Christ.  God will take care of the hard work, He will work on the heart.  Think about these words, found in Galatians:

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

-Galatians 6:9

Those three words “in due season” is our call to patience, because that means God’s time will dictate the outcome, not us.  We may find ourselves walking away from a Gospel conversation with a feeling of disappointment and remorse because it did not result in an immediate profession of faith.  What we should be doing is rejoicing that God presented us with the opportunity to share Him with another and then we should remain in prayer for this individual and that God’s will be done in his/her life.  We must be patient and we must trust in Him, because we do not know what His plan is, we only know what we are called to do.  

I have struggled with this very issue, in my own life.  There are several people, whom I love beyond measure, that I pray for daily, that they may open their hearts to receive Christ.  There was a time when I was impatient and wondered why God was dragging His feet, I mean why wouldn’t He want to just change their heart right now and draw these people into His kingdom?  Then I resorted to thinking it was something I was doing wrong.  The problem with this thinking, I soon realized, was that I was making it about me, what I wanted and what I would do.  How foolish is that?  Fortunately, I have been able to find that patience and peace that can only be found in trusting in God’s plan.  

I read a story, a few months ago, about a well-known preacher who had been faithfully praying for three friends to come to Christ.  This went on for years.  The first friend accepted Christ after about 5 years, the second after about 8 years, and the third came to Christ almost 16 years later, two years after this preacher had died.  This preacher planted the seed and trusted God to work in His time.  

Trust in the Lord, submit to His will.  It is easy for us to say, but it is often a struggle for us, but with practice, prayer, and faith, we will see those blessings that only He can provide.  I will close with the verse that I opened with for this devotion, simply because I feel it needs to be reiterated,

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

-2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow and he wishes that ALL should reach repentance.  What more do we need to know?

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