I'm a daughter, granddaughter & niece of pastors. I love God & studying the Bible and want to empower others to do the same.
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. -2 Peter 3:15
Love is patient...1 Corinthians 13:4
The stories about the best friend who waited for the girl to see him and his patient, long-suffering love for her—to finally love him back—always get to me. “The Boy Who Waited” is the theme of some of my favorite episodes, seasons, and companion's stories in Doctor Who, about a man who had become partly “robot." Because of a tragedy that happened to him, he was physically able to wait 2,000 years for the woman he loved to be released from her own box, fully healed. He waited for her to heal and come back to life so he could be with her.
The best friend who waited for years for the girl is repeated in so many movies and TV shows. It’s always heart-breaking to me when he doesn’t get the girl (like Andie and Duckie- "I'm not particularly concerned with whether or not you like me, because I live to like you"), and delightful when He does (Pam and Jim Halpert- "Not enough for me? You are everything."). I love when there’s that moment of declaration of how long he has waited, how well and fully he knows her—better than anyone—and that he waited for her because he truly sees her and loves her as no one else does. This type of revelation pierces my soul because it resembles (imperfectly) the Savior’s patient, faithful, long-suffering love for me. It's the way we all truly desire to be loved—fully, "even as I am known fully." (1 Cor. 13:12) For someone to see all that we are and still love it all. That is our heart's ever-burning question: do you see me, do you love me, still, despite all you see, or because of it? Do you, can you, will you still love me?
One of my favorite songs from my youth is called “Entertaining Angels” by the Newsboys. It says, “Entertaining angels by the light of my TV screen, 24/7, You wait for me.” That line wrecks me, rips my heart right open with conviction. While I’m sitting there watching mindless television, numbing myself to the unhealed wounds in my heart, to the unanswered nagging convictions and questions which I could ask and share with the God of the universe who created every aspect of me, of my personality, gifts, talents, of my whole life, He is waiting patiently there for me to turn to Him, to realize how much He loves me and wants to spend time with me, right now. He wants to help me pick what I watch and read and do, so that it glorifies and pleases Him, not wastes what precious little time I have on earth filling my thoughts with junk and lies and the false, foolish, hopeless messages of a lost world.
And most of all, HE wants more uninterrupted time with ME, like a couple who first start dating and can’t get enough conversation, enough time and fun activities together, who get engaged because they realize they want to spend the rest of their lives together, “come what may, I will love you until my dying day,” —so claim the humans to one another, though we fail at it, but so declares God, and He never lies or lacks.
It reminds me of the unconditional love I knew when I had a dog who would wait for me until I got home and be so, so excited to see me, and all he wanted to do was just spend time with me. He wanted to go anywhere I went, do anything I did, even if it was just in a different room. He just wanted to do life with me. God is far above this example. Even though our meager human and animal counterparts are a weak representation of the vast love the Savior has for us, the unconditional loving nature of it carries the same message: "I’ll wait for you." We hear it in thousands of songs. I melt over it in hundreds of movies and TV shows. One movie I watched had a high school boy who carried a crate around at school everyday instead of a backpack. It was heavy, and he was made fun of for it. But the girl he loved, his best friend of many years, the one he was waiting for was much taller than him. And on the day she finally realized she loved him too, he was ready with that crate, to flip it over and stand on it, finally taller than her, and able to look her in the eye, tell her how much he loved her, and kiss her. She asked him what he had been waiting for. And he told her “for this.” What is God waiting for? For me. For you. For His beloved people that He suffered and died to save and have a relationship with.
God is the best friend, the Lover of my soul, the only One who never, ever tires of me, is never annoyed or bothered by me, can never get enough of me. Eventually, I will drive any and every human crazy. I’m a lot to handle, and I know it, and I know that the ones who love me most have accepted this. But I’m not too much for God, not ever. I’m just right, just enough. And He waits for me.
At night while I sleep, He waits eagerly for me to wake up, make coffee, and sit with Him over my Bible to hear His voice and Words. During the day, He waits for me to talk to Him, pray to Him, about what’s happening as it is, about my concerns for the future, about my past, about how I can follow Him, about my joys and celebrations, thanking Him both in and for the past and the present. He waits for me to delight in His creation, in sunsets and rainbows, in rain and clouds, in sunshine and cool breezes, in birds singing and squirrels scampering and children playing and friends laughing and the million delightful wonders this world has to offer, especially the tiny daily ones. In hugs and gifts and kisses and the delights of my heart He also delights, He waits for me to delight. He waits for me to take joy in all the beauty and wonder in the world. Just like He waits for me to pour out my heart to Him with every sorrow, every pain, and let Him heal it and show me the path of healing and freedom through it. He waits for me to ask Him about decisions small and large, as we walk through life together. He waits for me to sing to Him, regardless of how my voice sounds to others. He never tires of hearing my voice, talking or singing. He waits for me.
“I will wait, I will wait for you” ; “And I’ll wait, without you”—a hundred songs in our culture sing—attributing unconditional love to humans, unknowingly singing the refrain of my Savior’s desire for me, for each one of us, to walk in His presence, in the freedom of His ways, in the Joy of His Love, in the next bit of lamp-lit path He sets before us all day long. He waits for me to turn to Him, to choose Him above all other priorities and desires, to choose His desires. “You must return to me.”
But His patient waiting for me should not be an excuse for me to sin:
“For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you warned them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you gave them into the hands of the neighboring peoples.” -Nehemiah 9:30
Though God waits patiently for the ones who will return to Him, He is not deceived by the wicked or unrepentant:
“God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed." -Ecclesiastes 3:17
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. -1 Timothy 1:16
God has all the time in the world. Like the father of the prodigal son in Luke 15, He can wait us out until we're done making excuses for our disobedience, done being angry with Him for what He allowed in our lives, done disagreeing with what He desires and demanding our own way, done running/hiding from Him, too tired of all of these things, finally seeing their futility, that we finally turn back to Him. He can wait us out, but it will be easier for us if we just turn to Him with full surrender to begin with. The reason for God’s patience and long-suffering is to bring me back to repentance, to surrendered obedience, to joyfully, wholly living with and for Him, always, in everything. He desires fellowship with me. He desires every part of my heart, mind, soul, and life. And He is waiting for me, and you, right now.
For more verses about this, read Luke 15:11-32, Romans 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9, Psalm 103:8-10, Exodus 34:6.
© 2021 Amanda Lorenzo
Liz Westwood from UK on February 13, 2021:
Your comment about mindless TV echoes with me and screen time on a smart phone or laptop. It is too easy to find distraction from our main purpose in life. God must be incredibly patient.