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God cannot stop loving you. Want to know why? I John 4:8 tells us God is love. What is love? Well another really famous scripture (I Corinthians 13:4-8) tells us what love is: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Today we’re going to focus on God’s patience. Patient here actually means to persevere patiently. Be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others. Slow to anger. Slow to punish.
We see this in the Book of Jonah, where God sent Jonah to Ninevah. We all know Jonah didn’t want to go there because he knew what kind of people they were, and he didn’t feel they deserved a second chance. But God felt differently. Most people focus on how patient God was with Jonah when he disobeyed. But what about how patient He was with the Ninevites? How long He waited for them to turn around?
Ninevites were Assyrians. Assyria was an extremely and aggressively violent people during that time. They committed horrific atrocities. And yet, He sent Jonah at precisely the moment they’d be open to change.
Why? Why was He willing to persevere for people who were as nasty and violent as the Ninevites? Simple, He loved them and He didn’t want them to perish.
Look at what the difference between Jonah’s opinion and God’s:
These people are horrible, and I know God’s merciful and kind. He’s slow to anger, so I’m going to save God from Himself and ensure these people to receive the punishment they deserve.
“So Jonah prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.” Jonah 4:1-3
Oh my children. I love you. I see your brokenness and your ignorance. My heart goes out to you. I am here and I will be patient with you. I will give you a chance to repent and to change.
“But the Lord said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?” Jonah 4:10-11
If God wasn’t fazed by the Ninevites, then why do you think He’s shocked by the mess you’re in or by what you’ve done? He is patiently persevering alongside you too. Waiting for the day when you will be open to receive the love, mercy and grace He’s offering. It may be when you are at your lowest broken point or after the greatest victory of your life. It may be after a near death experience or a tragedy. It may be when you’ve just committed the worst imaginable offense. It may be on a random Wednesday when you’re sitting outside enjoying the sunshine. He loves you, so He’s patient with you.
He sent Jesus because He loves us, not because we are lovely! “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
It always comes back to love! Why? Simple, God=Love! Love’s not what God does, it’s who He is.