Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. Hosea 11:3
Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation. 2 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
Patience is a virtue, just not one many of us are very good at. It is hard to be patient with people sometimes. We may explain how to do a task over and over and still the other person doesn’t do it as we think they should. We see impatience while in line at a store as people don’t want to wait, or get annoyed waiting their turn. Being patient can be very hard for us humans. Luckily we have a God and Lord who have infinite patience with us, no matter how often we sin.
God showed the Israelites the way in the wilderness; He cared for them on their journey. Took care of them as a father, a tutor, a mother and a nurse. Food and water were supplied, along with the Ten Commandments to follow. Yet somehow the people didn’t know that God had healed them and cared for them. They ignored everything that was done for them and turned to worshipping other gods. Here in Hosea we have a picture of God taking His people up in His arms – cradling them like a parent would a child. Children often don’t appreciate what parents do for them, all the care and concern, food and shelter. Eventually however we children do figure it out, as parents patiently wait.
God is also very patient with us each and every day. He must have been to wait all those years as His chosen people kept disobeying and ignoring Him. Not much has changed, has it? Our second verse, from 2 Peter, says the Lord’s patience actually leads to our salvation. The translation in the New Living Translation says: “And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved.” Just like parents sometimes have to wait many years for their children to realize what has been done for them, God has the patience to wait. In verse 8 we read that: “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” Our time is not God’s time. His continuing healing presence in our lives and his patience are things we should remember and give thanks for every day.
Compassionate Lord, thank you for the many deeds that you have done for us, known and unknown. Your grace and patience are signs of your divine love for us. Thank you for patiently listening to us and healing us. Like children we may kick and scream and try to run away from your comforting arms. Help us to repent as we see your patience, love and kindness holding us close. In Jesus’ name, Amen.