Lent Devotion April 6-Patience

Lent Devotion

April 6

Patience

  Patience is one of those strange qualities that produces envy of, and frustration toward, those who have it from the majority of us who don’t. When one of us who is lacking patience encounters someone who has it in abundance, it can drive us absolutely batty, and simultaneously evoke jealousy. When I see someone handle a situation calmly and serenely that has me champing at the bit (usually because it’s happening right in front of me and I can’t do anything about it), I get both frustrated and envious at the same time. I wonder if anyone felt that way about Jesus.
 
Jesus was, of course, a perfect example of patience. He dealt with the frequent thick-headedness of His disciples, the conspiratorial ways of the Pharisees, and the sinful choices of people he encountered masterfully.
 
  One example is in John 8, where Jesus was teaching a crowd of people and the Pharisees and teachers of the law interrupted Him by dragging in a woman they had caught in the act of adultery. They tried to trap Him by asking him if they should stone her to death as the law demanded, or let her go. If He had said to stone her, they would’ve accused Him of not having compassion. If He had said no, they would’ve charged Him with saying the Law was wrong.
 
There were so many things going on here that Jesus could’ve (rightly) attacked them for: Interrupting His teaching, trying to trap Him instead of caring about whether or not He really was the Messiah, dragging the woman before Him but letting the man she was involved with go. And those are just a few examples. But what did Jesus do? He stooped down and wrote in the sand.
 
  And Scripture doesn’t tell us what He wrote. Some speculate that maybe he was writing down the sins of the Pharisees in the crowd in the ground. Other people think that maybe in the dirt he was writing verses from the Law. But a passage in Jeremiah 13 might give us a better idea. It says:
 
“All who turn away from Me will be written in the dirt, for they have abandoned the Lord, the fountain of living water” (Jeremiah 17:13).
 
  And after getting up Jesus said, “OK, but the first stone has to be thrown by the one of you who is sinless.” And slowly they all dropped their rocks and walked away. Then, instead of browbeating this woman for her sin Jesus asked her where her accusers were. I can imagine the emotions that were running through her as she shook her head and said, “They’re gone.” And Jesus said, “If they won’t condemn you, I won’t either. Now go and sin no more.” Jesus didn’t compromise on what was right and wrong, but He showed patience and grace.
 
  2 Peter 3:9 says, “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
 
    As you pray today, thank God for His incredible patience with you, and ask for the Spirit to produce patience in you toward others.

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