How patient is God?
We often here the phrase patience is a virtue. We read in Paul’s letters to the Church that Patience is a fruit of God’s spirit, a reflection of God’s character and something we cultivate as we draw close to God.
In Amos 8:1-14 it seems God’s patience has run out on his people.
1 This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: a basket of ripe fruit. 2 “What do you see, Amos?” he asked. “A basket of ripe fruit,” I answered. Then the Lord said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.
The covenant people were far from God and one another.
“Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land’ (8:4)
“buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals” (8:6)
From creation to covenant we are reminded again and again of God’s desire to be with his people. His people are called to be imitators of God’s character by being with others demonstrating care and justice.
Unlike the God and Adam of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel fresco painting reaching within finger tips of one another. Amos paints a stark reality of what happens when people do not want to be with God.
In my ministry as a school chaplain, a favoured question from the older students is what I think of Hell. Influenced in part by the numerous Netflix shows and gaming narratives captivated by the demonic.
They ask, ‘Do you believe in Hell with Fire, pitch forks, demons roaming around etc…?’
I pause, giving the impression I have the question before, ‘I believe it is much worse than that!’ (now I have their attention).
‘Much worse, how could it be much worse?’
“If God is not present, everything is possible.” (My paraphrase, from Fyodor Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov)
Recognising the absence of God in our lives, the Son of God on the Cross of Calvary, willingly and heartbreakingly chose to be separated from the Father through his death that we may truly be present with God. And, the Father willingly and heartbreakingly let the Son be truly present with us.
How patient is God?
God’s patience is perfect and powerful.