The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and great in faithful love. — Psalm 145:8
Have you ever witnessed road rage? Once, a burly man in a truck started angrily gesturing and screaming at me. I’m not even sure what I did to rouse his fury. Perhaps I cut him off. Or perhaps I did something else wrong. But his behavior left no doubt in my mind as to how he felt. Then, as if obscene gestures and expletives weren’t enough, he began to aggressively tailgate me. It wasn’t until I turned into the parking lot of a nearby police station that he stopped his enraged pursuit.
I’m glad that God is not like that angry, impatient man.
Scripture repeatedly affirms that He is slow to anger (Exodus 34:6; Nehemiah 9:17). When it comes to being provoked, He’s extremely tolerant and puts up with a lot. That’s not to say that wrongdoers will forever go unpunished (Nahum 1:3). Rather, He gives people ample opportunity to avoid this fate. Peter explained,
The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. — 2 Peter 3:9
The patience of God ought to give you great comfort and confidence. If you do something wrong, He won’t respond like that hothead in the truck. He will be patient with you. You can run toward Him rather than away from Him. You can draw near without fear, knowing that He will not respond in anger but with mercy and grace (Hebrews 4:16).
Do you think of God as being angry and impatient or as patient and even tempered? Where do you think you got this concept of God? How do you feel knowing that God is patient with wrongdoers? How do you feel knowing that God is patient with you?
Thank God that He is patient and slow to anger.
Excerpted with permission from Growing Grateful by Mary Kassian, copyright Mary A. Kassian.