I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience. . . .
— 1 Timothy 1:16
Earlier this month we looked at the virtue of steadfast endurance (Oct. 5), a sort of super-patience. Today our attention is on the more normal patience we need as we deal with waiting in everyday life. Perhaps the most common example of this is the patience that parents and teachers hopefully showed us while they were waiting for us to grow smarter and wiser.
It’s heartwarming that Paul uses this type of patience to describe Jesus’ waiting before we repent and commit our lives to him. It suggests that Jesus never lost sight of our future in him. He knew he would win us over; it was just a matter of time. So he was patient, being the best of teachers, even when we insisted on doing things our own wrong way.
This passage prompts us not to hide the patience we needed from Christ. We should be open about our sinfulness and repentance and faith so that the patience Jesus had with us will be on full display. And as we share the story of Christ’s patience with us, we will grow in patience and understanding toward others who still need to “believe in him and receive eternal life.”
Dear Jesus, many of us have come so far because of your patience with us. Help us to grow more and to share your patience with others. Amen.