Someone once said to me, “Don’t ever ask God for patience, or he will give you something to be patient about!” I did not like the sound of that, and after some thinking, I replied something like, “I think that argument comes straight from the Pit. You see, Paul prayed for the Christian church at Colossae that they would have, ‘PATIENCE and endurance with joy…’ And if the apostle of the early church prayed for it for those he loved, how much more should we pray for it for ourselves and others. Furthermore, patience is a fruit of the Spirit, and to say not to ask God for it because he might make you exercise it would be like saying, ‘Don’t ask God for joy, or he might give you something to be joyful about,’ or ‘Don’t ask God for peace or he might give you something to be peaceful about.'”
And that is where tonight comes in. As I was trying to avert my attention from an indignation- one of the strongest I have had- that would not go away, I mumbled, “God help me.” The next thought I had was a prayer I had made. But first, let me provide a little more background on the reason for my anger- I have been dealing with someone who treats those around him like they are animals, blames other people constantly and instantly for any problem, scarcely if ever concedes any error (it is always the fault of some other ‘crazy’ person), and is possibly the meanest person I have ever met. All of this is becoming very tiresome to me. Today after receiving a substantial amount more of this than I thought just or right, I fumed inside, but my mouth stayed closed.
Now, let me return to my prayer, “God help me.” Scarcely had I closed my mouth before I remembered a recent prayer- that this person might be able to see the love God had for him. I started to see, more and more experientially and to my humiliation, that God took all of that- the anger, fury, false accusations- from me and one hundred times more, and still offered me the free gift of salvation! I could never earn that, and deserved anything but by my conduct. My temper subsided and I started to consider this situation with eternity in view. This person seems to have the authority now, but really, he has no authority God has not permitted him to have. In the end, he and I will have to account for all our deeds, but I now have Jesus to take the punishment that I deserve while he has no one to take his anger except the people now.
In praying for God to help me see the love he had towards someone else, God showed me a portion of the love that he has for me. I do not regret this prayer or denounce it, but I was caught off guard by its answer (or partial answer).
I saw another picture too- in the abating of this man’s anger, he tapped me on the shoulder, said, “don’t worry about it,” and then left.
How often have I done that to God when I have sinned, simply wanted to change the subject, “don’t worry about it,” and move on with everything the same and better than before? Brothers (and sisters if you are reading) this is what half-hearted repentance is to God! It makes God more distant because we treat the God we love and serve with a cavalier attitude and don’t see the wickedness of our sin or come to grips with why we were wrong.
Let us learn to pray and learn to love and learn to repent.

A debtor until the last,