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I Want to Learn Patience - Now!
by Alan Allegra
1/13/2009 / Christian Living
Let's start with a quiz. How many New Year's resolutions have you broken so far? I get trapped in the vicious circle: If I make resolutions, I break them. If I resolve not to make resolutions, then I've made a resolution. If I break that, I'll have to make resolutions and probably break them. I can't win.
Keeping resolutions and promises takes patience. If we aren't sure we can keep them, we shouldn't make them. If a person is known for breaking promises, then that person gets a reputation for being unreliable.
God is a promise-making God. All through Scripture, He makes promises to persons like Adam and Eve, a snake, Noah, kings, fishermen, slave women, and the entire world. Keeping promises like those is a hefty responsibility!
Waiting for promises to be fulfilled is also a big responsibility. In the past politically saturated few months, we have chosen our leaders based on their campaign promises. Now we must wait to see if they can deliver.
I recall reading about a man who wanted to join an organization. He was told to drive the boss to a certain location and wait for him. He waited almost the entire day until the boss came back. He was told this was a test of his patience and obedience, and he passed.
Waiting for God to fulfill His promises can be a test of patience and obedience. Abraham was 75 when God promised him children (Genesis 12). Abraham believed God, which was the smart thing to do. However, twelve years later, he flinched and had a son by a slave instead of his wife. That move was the start of the Middle East conflict (Genesis 16).
Moses was told to lead the children of Israel to the Promised Land. He was doing well until he lost his cool at Kadesh and angrily struck the rock instead of speaking to it as God commanded (Numbers 20). He became impatient with his people and went beyond God's orders, thereby losing his commission to enter the land.
The road of life is littered with broken promises, the road kill of good intentions. Even when we mean well, circumstances can prevent us from keeping our promises, whether made to others or ourselves. Economic downturns, catastrophic upturns, and infectious returns can conspire to overturn our plans. Some things are just beyond our power to control.
God, however, does not have this problem. There is nothing beyond His control. Scripture says, "But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases" (Job 23:13). There is nothing that can stop God from keeping His promises: "So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11).
God's promises are many and varied, but all of them have been made secure in Jesus. "For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us" (2 Corinthians 1:20). Because God's glory depends upon it, He will keep His resolutions.
Two of the most important promises from God concern salvation and Christ's second coming. "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13). "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work" (Revelation 22:12).
If you've already broken some (or ALL) of your New Year's resolutions, don't despair. Start over again and be patient. If you're tired of waiting for God to fulfill His promises, be patient. "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).
Alan is Content Coordinator for Lifestyles Over 50 (Thrive Media) and contributor to the Allentown, PA, Morning Call. He is also an adult Sunday school teacher and Bible study leader. Passionate about reviving theology and church methodology, and being a senior citizen!
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