834) The Patience of God

By Cyprian (c. 210- martyred 258), Bishop of Carthage, North Africa

     What great patience God has!  He makes the day dawn and the light of the sun rise both over the good and over the wicked; he waters the earth with his rain, and no one is excluded from its benefits, since water is given to the just and the unjust alike.  We see him act with equal patience toward the guilty and the innocent, the faithful and the wicked, the thankful and the ungrateful.  For all of them, the seasons obey God’s commands, the elements place themselves at their service, the winds blow, the waters flow, crops grow in abundance, grapes ripen, trees swell with fruit, forests take on greenery, and meadows blossom with flowers. 

     Although God is provoked by frequent and ever continual offenses by those he created, he tempers his indignation and waits patiently for the day fixed for retribution.  And although he has the power of vengeance, he prefers to have patience for a long time.  God waits and graciously defers so that if possible, the malice of men might become less with time and we who are mired in the infection of our sins might finally turn to God.

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God’s patience is infinite.  Men, like small kettles, boil quickly with wrath at the least wrong.  Not so God.  If God were as wrathful as men, the world would have been a heap of ruins long ago.

– Sadhu Sundar Singh  (1889-1929)

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Matthew 5:43-45  —  (Jesus said), “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

II Peter 3:3-4…8-9  —  Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.  They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised?  Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” …  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.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

II Peter 3:10-11  —  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.  The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.   Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?  You ought to live holy and godly lives.

Romans 2:4  —  Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

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Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices. 

–St. Teresa of Avila  (1515-1582)

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