I have to admit there have been more than a few times in my life when I found myself thinking, “If I were God, I’d be zapping that person into oblivion right now!”
Not good – but haven’t you been there too?
Thankfully God is God and I’m not; because at times my lack of patience causes me to be “quick to spout off in anger, and slow to listen” instead of what James 1:19 tells us to do which is to be “quick to listen, and slow to speak and become angry.”
Back when mother was alive, my sister and I used to visit her at least weekly once we finally all lived in the same area. Mother was getting frailer, and although both my sister and I were believers in Jesus by then, mother denied Him repeatedly.
Often when we would be visiting and having lunch together the subject would soon turn to “religion.” Both my sister and I really wanted her to discover just who Jesus was. We longed for her to understand how her religiosity was drastically different than having a personal relationship with Jesus. Only He could set her free from her pain and dissatisfaction with life. We tried whatever we could think of to try and budge open the hardened doors of her heart.
Unfortunately, however, I inherited my “impatient genes” from mother – whereas my sister was much more laid back, loving and kind.
Often I would start out totally loving in my speech, but suddenly she’d say something that would irritate me and I’d lose my temper and turn into a screaming maniac. Often it was when she’d bring up something similar to how she knew she was going to heaven because she wasn’t “that bad a person,” – or she’d start recounting a near death experience she believed she’d had years ago in the hospital. Those comments used to put me over the edge, and I’d blow a gasket telling her that the Bible was full of instances where being good and having visions of beautiful lights was not what salvation was all about.
Sometimes I got so angry that my mouth would open with unkind words spurting out about how she’d been living a deceived life. Not good…
Because of my frailties, many times when leaving her apartment I ‘d find myself crying out to the Lord for forgiveness in my words. I knew that only He could turn her heart, so why did I repeatedly say things I shouldn’t have?
It’s hard when you love someone you know is heading towards destruction, isn’t it? My sister and I were heartbroken, knowing that the Word of God states that stubbornness and unrepentance leads to punishment once you take your last breath on earth (Romans 2:5). And as much as mother absolutely drove us nuts a lot of times, we loved her deeply and wanted her to be with us in heaven someday.
Often we would find ourselves praying: “When, O Lord, when?”
Finally the day came – but we didn’t find out it until after she had taken her last breath. A couple days after her passing, the hospice pastor called my sister and told her our mother had made a confession of faith not too long before her death. She didn’t want him to talk to us about it, but he felt we needed to know. We were so thankful!
It says in 2 Peter 3:9, that sometimes God’s slowness in answering our prayers is because He’s patient. Because His love is so much deeper than what we can even begin to comprehend, He patiently keeps spurring hearts towards Him.
Don’t ever give up in praying for your loved ones, friends. Stay focused on the Lord Jesus, and trust Him. He hears you…