God’s example of patience

God’s example of patience

I remember walking into the kitchen one day, seeing a little brunette head turn around quickly and start to tear up as the realization that she had been caught with her hand in the cookie jar! When I asked in a rather stern voice: “What is that all over your face?” after seeing chocolate from ear to ear, the tears started to flow, and an answer came out that surprised me. “Cookie did it daddy, the cookie did it.” I will never quite understand why or how the emphasis changed from doing something she shouldn’t have been doing to a dirty face, but it did. I could not help but smile and laugh. The long brown eyelashes had won again!

There were other times like that when I bit my tongue, stepped back from the situation, and tried to consider if I would have done it any differently at your age. Decisions were extremely hard, because I knew the consequences of your choice. Worse, was the fact that I knew your choices would direct your path away from what was in your best interest. I had no option but to discipline you at times. With or without that we tried to reason through the impact of your decisions. Sometimes it helped, other times I knew the consequences would teach you more than I could. I know there were times when I should have been stricter and other times more lenient. However, I understand I was working with the knowledge that God had given me at that point in my life – and that was all I had. I assume that if He had wanted me to have a greater insight, He would have given it to me before each incident. Unfortunately, dads have to mature, just like kids do. They never gave me training ahead of time.

I have probably been more lenient on you younger kids than I have the older ones because of my life transition in 1983. When I realized God could better manage my life than me, the Spirit pushed me in a new direction. During Thanksgiving week our church was sharing our hearts about what God had done for us instead of regular services. As I listened to others speak, and recounted the last 18 years of doing things my way, the Spirit of God simply overwhelmed me. All I could do was stand up, with tears in my eyes, and say “I thank God for His patience with me.” I’m not sure if all the “Amens” were because they related to what I said or whether they all knew my past. But at that point, it really didn’t matter.

That evening God gave me this verse in Romans 9:22–23: In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory. As you read this, remember that there were times when I may have thought you just got away with something or pulled the wool over my eyes. However, you should know by now that I know more than you think I know! It was God’s patience working in me!

Love, Dad

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