«Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.» 2Peter3 :15 (NKJV)
Imagine a world with a total absence of worry. Nobody would ever experience anxiety. That world could exist and I will prove it to you in this article.
As I was walking down Mare Street, I saw Costa cafe’s red sign. From far, I saw my friend who just walked in and was already ordering his drink. I was totally sure he was buying a Macchiato. He always requests a medium Macchiato.
I was now next to him ready to ask for a hot chocolate with coconut milk.
«Hello, how are you today? », He said when he saw me next to him.
«I am very good, what about you?», My response was authentic I was doing great.
«I am ok. » He said.
«Are you sure ? », I investigated.
«Well, to be honest, I need your prayers. I am going through difficulties and I am trying to sort everything out, but it is not easy at all, you know. Can you pray for me again, please? God always listens to you.» He talked almost without breathing. It felt like he needed it to come out of him before he could breathe and relax.
I stared at him with a saddened look.
«Ok, no problem I will pray for you. Why do you believe that God will listen to me more than you ?»
«Because you are a good girl, you go to church and you know how to pray.», He answered.
«But God does not only listen to me, he also listens to you. You don’t have to carry all your burdens yourself because it is too heavy for one person to do. Even the strongest person could not carry it. We all go through trials and difficult times. But the difference between you and me is that my life belongs to Jesus. Therefore, I do not need to figure everything out, he does that for me. Because I gave my life to Jesus, he is responsible for my problems. Therefore I let him carries them and also he gives me peace.
«Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.» Matthew 11 :28-29 (NKJV)
In this way, anxiety and stress leave space for peace.
I was so annoyed at my friend and so sad at the same time. How could he have such a ridiculous idea in mind regarding God ?
As outrageous as his idea was, it was unfortunately reflecting the state of mind of most of the people of our century. Will God listen to the prayers of a sinner like me ?
For a whole year I preached to him the gospel of Jesus, I shared who God is with him by sharing testimonies. And he still did not want to follow Jesus. I was so frustrated.
I remember speaking to my Christian fellow about it, expressing my frustration and even my distress. What more could I do apart from praying for him ?
My friend was sensitive to God, but for some reasons, he just did not want to completely surrender all to God. He affirmed not to be ready to completely follow God as a result of his unholy and sinful life. He judged himself as unworthy of being a Christian and finally told me that he was not ready to live a Christ-like life.
I attempted to explain to him that God is the one who makes us holy, we cannot be, by our own strength. Every person who has come to Jesus is initially broken. God will remove this brokenness to give you a wholeness in Him. All we need to do is to be willing and to make the decision to abandon our life to God. Only the Holy Spirit enables us to live a life like Jesus’. By our own power we cannot.
One day, after one of our conversations I was quite irritated. I could see him acknowledging that God was the only solution and way out of his life, but again for some reason he was so resistant to abandon his old life and follow Christ. He literally knew it was the best things to do but wouldn’t do it.
When I shared this story with my closest friend, she exclaimed : « You need to keep loving him, continue to say what God is doing in your life everyday. Continue to share, love, compassion, without judging him.»
As I was praying for him that day, I had a strong inner conviction ; how could I dare to be so impatient with him when God himself was patient with me and especially during my entire life until the day I decided to accept him fully into my life?
The word patience is defined by the Cambridge dictionary as the ability to accept delay, suffering, annoyance, without complaining or becoming angry.
What about you ? Are you always patient with people ?
(to be continued next week)