Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote: “For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to your name.” And in another place it is written, “Rejoice with his people, you Gentiles.” And yet again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles. Praise him, all you people of the earth.” And in another place Isaiah said, “The heir to David’s throne will come, and he will rule over the Gentiles. They will place their hope on him.” I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Dear God, patience. Patience, patience, patience. I measure time in days, weeks, months, and years while you measure it in decades, centuries, and millennia. Even after all of my prayers about dying to myself and waiting on you to work your plan out on your own timetable, I can get my feelings hurt and become completely selfish. But that good news is that you are teaching me. I did a little better this time than I’ve done before. I at least had the sense to keep my mouth shut. Then, after time, I was able to see beyond the surface and appreciate that there might be more at play than I realize.
I say all of this because Paul is talking here about patiently waiting on you. But I think waiting might mischaracterize it a little. I just have to adjust my eye to see what you are actually accomplishing. It might seem like a snail’s pace to me, but if I look closely I can see that you are working.
I also have no idea where you are going. Life is a little like a who dunnit? murder mystery. My wife and I saw Knives Out this week. It kept us guessing the entire time, but the final answer made perfect sense. In retrospect, I could see how all of the pieces fit. The same is true of life. It’s hard to figure out what you’re doing in real time, but I can often look back and see what your hand working.
Father, I’ll quote a Newsboys song here. “Lord, I don’t know where all this is going or how it all works out. Lead me to peace that’s past understanding. A peace beyond all doubt.”
In Jesus’s name I pray,