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.
— 2 Peter 3:9
When it comes to frozen pizza, I am not at all patient. I don’t wait for the oven to preheat, and once the pizza is done, I don’t wait for it to cool down. My impatience leads to a poorly cooked pizza that burns my mouth!
But if I changed and became more patient with frozen pizza, that would not necessarily be a sign of the Spirit working in me. When we think of patience as the fruit of the Spirit, it means more than just the opposite of hotheadedness. That is why “forbearance” or “longsuffering” is sometimes listed in place of “patience” in the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.
The Holy Spirit prompted the apostle Peter to remind his readers about the patience—longsuffering and forbearance—of God to all people.
God first showed his amazing patience with humanity in the Garden of Eden when he promised a Savior rather than eternal banishment from his presence (Genesis 3:15). And ever since then, God has patiently continued to call us to repentance. Though he will sometimes send punishment, God does not destroy the people he loves and has called. God continues to wait today for people from every tribe and nation to come to him in faith and repentance. And he calls us to return to him daily and to celebrate his patience with praise and thanksgiving.
Patient God, we thank you for calling us all to faith and repentance. Help us to respond to your gracious call. In Jesus’ name, Amen.