February 27, 2010
But You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Turn to me and have mercy on me; grant Your strength to Your servant and save the son of Your maidservant. Psalm 86:15-16
There are few things in life more frustrating than sitting behind a stalled car.
That's what happened to me yesterday. A lady's car stopped and stalled at a traffic light. I was behind her and another vehicle. She tried to get her car going, but, although the battery did its thing, the starter never fired up.
With my window rolled down, I could hear the starter. In frustration the woman turned the key again and again. At least I thought that was what I was hearing. It was difficult to pick up much of anything as the motorist between us kept leaning on his horn.
Finally, the red-faced lady got out of her car and walked back to the honker. Without the sound of her engine trying to turn over and his horn blaring, I could hear her very plainly say, "I'm awfully sorry, but I don't seem to be able to start my car. If you'll go up there and start it for me, I'll stay here and honk your horn."
I was really glad that for once I hadn't joined in on the horn honking.
Still, as I look back, there are far too many times in my life when I have been impatient with others -- times when I didn't stop to think of how someone else might feel.
It doesn't make any difference whether I showed my impatience with a car horn or a disgusted look, or taunting words -- I was impatient -- unnecessarily impatient.
This takes me to the point of this devotion. Each of us ought to be incredibly grateful the Lord isn't so impatient with us. With all our flaws and failings, our sins and shortcomings, our terrible transgressions, an impatient Lord would be justified if He turned this planet into a roasted marshmallow.
But that's not what He does. The Lord answers the Psalmist's prayer and has mercy on us. By the sending of His Son, through the forgiving of our sins, by the calling and ongoing protection of the Holy Spirit, the Lord shows us He is longsuffering.
That's the word for Him. I have a Lord who is longsuffering. And I thank Him that He is.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, how easy it is for me to get frustrated at the small and insignificant. Forgive me. Grant me the wisdom and insight to praise You for Your patience, for my redemption, for the fact You are . . . longsuffering. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries