Category Archives: God’s Patience

Does God Get Tired of Me?

Our youngest son, Caleb, is now in his mid-20s. Yet, he will always have many childlike ways. He can also, like many people with Down Syndrome, be very repetitive in his actions and conversations. If it is a rebellious trait, it can be tiring or aggravating. However, there are also those actions that can bring a smile to our faces every time.

Caleb likes trying to scare my wife and me. Most of the time, this involves putting plastic spiders or wind-up, chattering teeth under our pillows.  After doing this every night for three weeks, we obviously know it is going to happen at bedtime. And yet, he keeps on doing it. He has so much fun doing it that it makes it fun for us too. Of course, we make it into a game where we try to get him back in the same way. And so this goes on and on.

Do we ever get annoyed with it or tired of him doing it? No. Even when we are very tired, the discovery of the teeth or spiders always makes us shake our heads and smile. Why? Because he is having fun with it, and it is harmless, he loves us, and he is our child and we love him.

“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4-5

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think God gets tired of me coming to Him with the same thing, over and over and over. Every time I pray, it seems like I say the same things to Him. Does God get bored with me? Is He tired of listening to me? What do you think?

I would say it depends on the manner in which we come to Him. If we come to God in a prideful manner, confident in our own righteousness or asking for things for our own selfish gain, then I would think that God would not delight in this. If we are coming to God with a lack of sincerity and genuineness, like we can hide something from Him, I don’t think He would delight in this either.

But if we come to God with sincerity, humility, and even the simplicity of a child, why would God not delight in us, even if we are coming to Him with the same thing we have brought before Him so many times? I mean, let’s face it; nothing that we bring to God is going to be a surprise to Him. He knows everything we will ever say, before we even think it. So, in a way, everything is repetitious and redundant to Him. Yet, He always tells us to come to Him.

The verses in 1 Peter tell us that in God’s sight, we are chosen and precious. God longs for us to come to Him and, through the blood of Jesus Christ, He has provided us a way to come into His very presence. So, if we are feeling like God is tired of us, maybe we should examine our own hearts. We might be applying our own human weaknesses to the holy character of God.

Our feeling that God is tired of us might just be that we are tired of asking for something that God does not seem to be willing to provide according to our plans and wishes. It could be that we are coming with the wrong spirit, doing these things out of obligation rather than trust and delight in God. Maybe we are coming with hearts that are not thankful for all God has given us. It could be any number of things.

The important thing to remember is that God is not a man. He is not flawed. He loves with a perfect love. And He delights in His children. So, does God get tired of us coming to Him over and over? No. If fact, it is His desire that we come to Him, and find in Him the peace, rest, and joy that the world and our flawed expectations and perspectives can never provide.

Now, if I could just find a way to leave a spider under His pillow.

Together for His glory…

Talking My Ears Off

When our son, Caleb, was very young, his speech was slow in developing. This is often common, among other delays and issues, for someone with Down Syndrome. But we used to wonder when he would be able to talk and carry on a conversation. Well, those days are long gone. Caleb is definitely a talker.

One day, when I called my wife at home, I could hear Caleb, in the background, continuing to talk away, even though we were on the phone. So, I asked my wife to give him the phone. I told him, “Now, I don’t want you to be talking your Mom’s ears off all day. You have to give her a break sometimes.” He replied, “Okay Dad. I know. I will talk my own ears off.” This was, of course, a classic example of what our family has come to call “Calebisms.” (For more “Calebisms,” see The World According to Caleb.)

As my wife and I were talking later, she mentioned that it is a good thing that God never tells us to stop talking His ears off. What a great point. Can you imagine? What if God had a limit to what we could say to Him every day? What if He limited us on when we could talk to Him and for how long?

I think that one of the reasons that Caleb talks so much is because he does not have the filters that many of us have learned to put in place when we talk to God or to others. When Caleb is excited, he talks about it. When is concerned, he talks about it. He talks about things that he or the family is going to do. Any time he has new or interesting information, he talks about it. He gives us play by plays on things we watch on television, even though we are sitting there watching it together. If he thinks it, he usually says it. Caleb possesses a freedom to come and talk to us about anything and everything that is going on.

Caleb is relentless. There are times when he does not understand protocol or that there are times when he needs to be quiet. This can sometimes be a problem, but on the whole, I think it reveals a confidence or belief that the people in his small world are there for him and will listen to him when he wants to talk them. In many ways, I believe that this demonstrates how God wants us to come to Him. We have the most amazing resource available to us all of the time. Yet, we frequently do not take advantage of it. We need to be more relentless, like Caleb, and here is why.

We have unlimited access to the Father. The death of Jesus Christ, paying the penalty for all of our sin, has provided access, to all who will receive it, into the very presence of the eternal God. This access is based completely on the work of Jesus Christ and has absolutely nothing to do with our own worthiness or good works. If we are in Christ, we have access to the Father, both now and for all eternity (2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:17; Philippians 3:9; Hebrews 4:15-16).

We can bring everything to the Father. Jesus exemplified this perfectly during his ministry. He never turned people away when they came to Him with their requests and needs. When His disciples tried to turn people away, Jesus always received them because of His compassion for them. If we are in Christ, we are the very children of the Most High God. He has poured out His love upon us. We can, and should, come to God with everything. For in God alone is wisdom and strength. And in Him alone will we find peace and rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30; 1 Peter 5:6-7; 1 John 3:1).

God delights in His children coming to Him. Why does God delight in His children? He delights in us because are His very own possession, purchased by the blood of Christ (Titus 2:11; 1 Peter 2:9-10). He paid an enormous price to bring us back into relationship with Him. God also delights for His children to come to Him because He knows that we will find no greater joy anywhere else. The love of Christ surpasses knowledge and it is God’s desire for us to know the magnitude of that love and to be filled with the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:14-21; Philippians 3:8-11).

Scripture instructs us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In a sense, God is telling us to talk His ears off. This is because in communing with Him and taking time to listen to Him, through His Word, we will grow in our knowledge of Him and grow to love Him more. The pursuit of God should be a relentless pursuit. If it is not, we are robbing ourselves of our greatest joy. Let’s draw near to Him because He has already told us that we have His ear.

Together for His glory…

Examining My Idolatrous Heart

“The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place. But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against his people, until there was no remedy.” 2 Chronicles 36:15-16

As I have mentioned before, I listen to the Bible while exercising. Depending on my consistency for exercise, I listen some weeks more than others. I have found it to be a great supplement to my study of the Word and I recommend it to you. I have now made it through 2 Chronicles. The final chapter contains the verses above, which is followed by the judgment of God on His people. These two verses contain several things for us to consider.

God is persistent. For years, through multiple prophets, God had warned His people about their idolatry and their rejection of Him and His law. They were without excuse. The people could not say that they were unaware of God requirements. God had even brought smaller judgments and trials on the nation, in order to turn their hearts back to Him, but the revivals were short-lived. They would turn away again. Yet, God continued to warn and call His people to return to Him.

The persistence of God flows from His compassion for His people. God was protecting them from the emptiness and passing satisfaction brought by their pursuit of the gods of other nations. God knew that they would find no greater fulfillment or lasting joy than in their covenant relationship with Him. He wanted the best for His people, not just for the present generation, but for future generations. Therefore, He continued to warn and call them back to Him, in spite of their repeated rebellion.

Yet, in the end, the people would not have it God’s way. They wanted things their own way. They did not believe God’s warnings. In their foolishness, they did not think God would act. Or worse, they did not think He could act. They mocked His messengers and despised His prophets. They took on the practices and worship of the gods of the nations God had driven out before them. They did even more evil than the nations before them (2 Chronicles 33:9), even though they had been given the very Word of God. Their rebellion was a complete rejection of God.

Therefore, as the passage says, there was no remedy. God brought judgment on the people of Judah and Israel. They were killed or removed from the land He had given them. The temple, built for the glory and worship of God, was destroyed. The people God had chosen and delivered from captivity were now captive again. God was justified in His judgment. His persistence and compassion kept it from happening sooner. And even His judgment, He preserved a remnant of His people, once again demonstrating His compassion and faithfulness, even when His people were not faithful.

There are many lessons for us in this passage. As followers of Jesus Christ, we need to be guarding our hearts against the idolatry that is so prone to the human race. We need to continually examine our hearts, asking God to search our hearts and reveal to us the things which we are treasuring more than Him. Is God sending us reminders and messages that we are not listening to? Or worse, are we despising and rejecting them? Have we been taken captive by idols in our heart?

In the church, we are often quick to cast judgment on those outside of our evangelical Christian bubble. We target the big sin items in society. We condemn elected officials for not upholding Christian principles. If they would only operate on Biblical principles, society would be turned around. Really? The nation of Israel had the most Biblical framework of any nation that has ever existed. They had the very Word of God as their constitution, to put it in our modern framework. Yet, rebellion and idolatry and sin did not cease. There was corruption throughout the nation’s leaders, priesthood, and the people. As with Israel, all of our attempts will also fall short because of the idolatry of the human heart. At the same time we point our finger at society, sin and idolatry in our hearts could be impacting the work of the gospel through our lives and our church.

The human heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). We deceive even ourselves. The work of the church is often hindered because of the idolatry of our hearts. Our preferences, prejudices, agendas, short-sightedness, and sin hamper the effectiveness of the church. Sadly, we don’t often realize it. In fact, we may even think we have noble or righteous causes. I have had to examine my own heart to see if there are convictions or positions I adamantly hold, but which may be working against what God wants to do in His church. I have to ask myself whether my ministry agenda and pursuits have become an idol in my life or whether they are actually helping to accomplish God’s purposes for His church.

How do we know? We have to continually examine our hearts, looking for these idols. We have to check our attitudes. When someone in leadership speaks regarding a ministry or mission, is my first reaction negative? Do I consistently question whether this is something that the church should be doing? Do I frequently criticize or grumble to others about what someone else in the church is doing? If I present an idea for ministry and it is not readily received or pursued, do I become angry and critical? Have I withdrawn from most of the activity and ministry of the church? If I have not physically withdrawn, have I removed myself emotionally or spiritually, so that I am just going through the motions? Have I become a piece of driftwood in the church, just floating around, bumping into things, causing damage and distraction, rather than intentionally engaging in ministry, under the leadership that God has put in place in my church?

I have been at our current church for 22 years. I have been actively serving, in some capacity, for almost every one of those years. And yet, I need to regularly ask myself these same questions. I routinely construct idols in my life or ministry that need to be cut down. I have disagreed with more things than I can count. There have been times when I have questioned why I am even at the church. However, God has allowed me to work through these things, hashing them out with leadership and others in the church. In the end, God has used these things to refine me and to reveal areas in my life where I was prideful and was not teachable. It is an endless process and I have a long way to go.

If you have a bur under your saddle, it may be time to lift up the saddle and see what is really there. What you find may surprise you. Instead of the glaring issue you thought was there, like an issue with a person or the church, you may find an idol you have erected in your own honor. I pray that we will be quick to hear the Word and warnings that God brings our way. We should continually examine ourselves, to see if our lives and faith are what God has called us to (2 Corinthians 13:5). The alternative is to leave God with no remedy but to discipline us, as He has always done with His people. Jesus said that He will build His church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). If the gates of Hell will not prevail against it, surely He will not tolerate one of us standing against what He wants to accomplish. My friends, keep yourselves from idols (1 John 5:21).

Together for His glory…