The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. – Psalm 103:8 (ESV)
Is patience still valued as a virtue in our culture? While the question may seem rhetorical at first glance, I’d like to emphasize the legitimacy of the question. Stop and think about it. When examining the values of a society, much can be gleaned by the content and tone of its effective and prevailing marketing campaigns. So, assuming this to be true, when is the last time you heard someone say, “Hey, invest in this product or subscribe to this service because it is sure to take a longer time and make you more patient?!” If that marketing campaign has been launched, I’ve definitely missed it. As a matter of fact, I’m certain it’s quite the opposite of nearly every sales pitch I’ve ever heard. If you want to move a product, you need to tell us how it saves time and makes us more productive.
As a culture, we are conditioned to continually invest in items and ideas that enable our desires to be met faster than they were met before. And while we’ve been sold on the idea that these efficiencies would give us a greater margin and peace, our experience has taught us the exact opposite. The industry of efficiency and immediate gratification has seemingly contributed to another growing industry that seeks to relieve anxiety and fear and provide a measure of escape.
So the question arises: has our perceived addiction to efficiency caused us to be less patient? And if that is the case, has our lack of patience caused us to be a more anxious people? I for one can confess that impatience causes a great dissonance in my soul. When problems arise, we should be able to Google a solution quickly, right? When we have a question, we can text with the expectation of a quick reply. But what if the answer isn’t to be found on Google? What if the person waits to text you back? Can you feel the anxiousness rise in your heart? The longer we wait, the greater it grows. I think it’s safe to say that not only is patience not valued as a virtue, impatience is growing as an epidemic
On the other hand, when I trust the Lord and press into Him with a submissive faith, I find that my ability to be patient grows. You see, I believe patience is a virtue that our culture desperately needs. However, like other virtues, patience is a fruit of the spirit that comes from God. A patient God enabled a fearful and anxious people to be transformed into a patient people. If you haven’t caught on, this week we are going to find strength in the patience of God. As we study Exodus chapter 32, we witness the patience of God be abused by the impatient Israelites. As you read this text, take time to identify the poor choices the people made in their impatience and how the Lord responded with perfect justice and patience.
Loved & sent with you,