Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost; but precisely because of this I received mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, he might demonstrate his perfect longsuffering, as an example for those who were destined to put their trust in him for eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:15–16
Before he was an apostle, Paul thought God should praise him for knowing better than he how to run his own creation. Even when he was trying to destroy the early Church, God was patient. Besides what it did for Paul, Jesus’ patience with him was meant to be an encouragement for us to trust him. We should be encouraged to know that even the worst person can be redeemed. God’s patience continues today. Peter tells us that this is so all of his people take advantage of the opportunity to repent of their arrogance. We should regard the patience of the Lord as deliverance. Jesus’ patience then becomes an encouragement to us to be longsuffering ourselves. Patience with someone who irritates us, or patience when a situation is progressing slowly, might bring some sinner to the realization of Jesus’ ability and willingness to change the most arrogant and destructive of us. Wouldn’t it be excellent to have Jesus exert his patience and extend his grace and mercy through us?
Merciful Lord, thank you for your patience with me. Thank you for the mercy I have experienced. May I so love your deliverance that I exhibit your longsuffering patience so someone else might welcome your mercy too. Amen.