Good and patient are two attributes of God I’ve been meditating on. The first I have sorely misjudged and the second I’ve overlooked almost entirely. But as I continue on into this new year, by his power and grace, I’m pursuing new ways of thinking and renewing old mindsets. This doesn’t look like doing anything new, but simply embracing the mind I already have in Christ. I share to remind myself of the things he is teaching me and also to encourage the ones desiring deeper truth and more of him. For that is the true reward of our searching, more of him.
God is good.
We say it all the time, He is a good Father. This statement could not be more true. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” [Psalm 34:8] God is the very essence of good and all he created is good. He is the only good. “No one is good but One, that is, God.” [Mark 10:18] Lately though, I’ve been challenged to review my terminology with God.
I think I grew up, like most of us, with a skewed definition of what good was. I thought good meant that no harm would come to me, that I would have joy and happiness, void of all pain and heartache. Essentially, I believed good was the absence of bad.
By now I know that life following Jesus is not a life void of pain and suffering. I don’t understand why things happen the way they do sometimes. But what I do know is that God is still good. It is his very nature. And when I can’t trust circumstance or even my own heart, I know I can trust him [1 John 3:20]. He works in ways we don’t see and beyond our comprehension for his greater glory.
Still, I often attach my circumstance and good fortune to the goodness of God. And while that’s not entirely wrong, it’s not what I want to be about. It’s not what he meant when he said, I will work all things together for the good of those who love me [Rom 8:28]. All things meaning the good and the bad. He’s not scared of the bad and neither should we be. He redeems all. He IS the redeemer. God is good not because of the things he does for us, but because of who he is.
God is patient.
I laugh at this one because I feel slightly hypocritical. Patience is hard. How many times I’ve said, I’m just waiting on God. Which in and of itself is a good thing. “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! [Psalm 27:14]
However, I think it’s important to question.. Are we waiting ON God or are we waiting IN God? Do we sit, twiddling our thumbs, or do we keep walking with a heart and mind bent toward his will. It’s easy to equate rest and waiting with passivity. But God’s rest is a matter of identity and knowing that the work is finished. He finished it [John 19:30]. What follows is the overflow of that knowledge and belief. We are waiting for his return, yet as we wait, we are alert, vigilant, sober minded, watching with hopeful anticipation, keeping our jar of oil filled. [1 Peter 4:7; Matt 24; Matt 25:1-13] None of this sounds passive to me, but more like an active waiting.
As much as we are called to wait, the Lord is also waiting on US… “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” [2 Peter 3:8-9]
Time is irrelevant to God. He is not running on our schedules. When we think he is taking forever to bring about his plans, we forget that he is not bound by anything except his will. And he wills that none should perish, but that all would reach repentance. So he waits for us because he is merciful and kind. God is not indifferent toward us, but he is patient beyond all we know.
As his children, my hope is that we make it our aim to pursue new and better ways of thinking and being this year. That we would not conform to the world’s thinking, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds and therefore the renewing of our hearts and lives as we seek to understand. To discern that which is good and true [Rom 12:2]. The holy spirit desires to help us if we ask.
Ultimately, I pray for more revelation of the Father’s goodness and patience toward us. I pray that we would challenge ourselves to know God more and differently than we’ve known before. Who he is. All that he is. He is vast and his attributes far exceed the heavens and the earth. I pray that knowing him would draw us further into his heart and deeply root us in faith.