What does it mean that God is patient? It means he waits when he does not have to wait. It means he postpones what he does not have to postpone. It means he experiences what he does not have to experience. Of course sometimes we have to wait, postpone, and experience things because of actions outside of our control. Our patience is often more about whether we will respond with joy and peace when our desires are delayed. I can’t change traffic, but I can choose to respond with patience toward my fellow drivers. Sometimes, we do have the choice to postpone, wait, or endure something or not. I can choose to be patient as my son slowly puts on his shoes or impatiently inform him that he’s already taken too long. Sadly, we often prefer ease to patience.
God is under no limitations or restrictions that come to him from the outside. God never gets stuck in traffic. No force controls him, but himself. He never has to wait for anything. He chooses patience. He chooses to wait for our full glorification. He chooses to postpone the full vindication of his glory and power. He chooses to experience the stumbling and foolishness of his people and the blasphemy of his enemies. He chooses patience, not because he has to, but because he wants to. He even chooses to be patient with impatient people. Why does he want to?
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
But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:16
He chooses to be patient to display his mercy, to reveal his love, to give time for many to turn to him in repentance. He is patient again and again and again, days innumerable, until the end of time.
Thank you, Lord, for the beauty and marvel of your patience toward us. You patience is truly a wonder to behold.