Don’t you realize how kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Or don’t you care? Can’t you see how kind he has been in giving you time to turn from your sin?
Romans 2:4 (NLT)

Perhaps there are times when you can’t think of anything to be thankful for. Life has come crashing down upon you and your “thank you” muscle is at least temporarily silenced. I was reading Dr. David Jeremiah’s book Captivated by Grace and he pointed out how thankful we ought to be for God’s kindness, patience and tolerance. Without it, we’d be toast! Even when life crashes in, in the midst of the sad, discouraging or hurtful circumstances, we can be thankful that our God is a kind, patient and tolerant God.

Jeremiah reminds his reader that God knows our every intention (see 1 Chronicles 28:9). Not only our actions, but our intention. He knows when we’ve done that good deed not to show Christ to the world, but for some personal prestige or gain. He knows when our thoughts are the polar opposite of our actions. As Jeremiah puts it:

“The Spirit of God dwells among the file cabinets of your mind…Truly understanding the implications of that, we would be taken by uncontrollable fear if His character were not kind, patient, and forbearing. Who else could we trust with the contents of those file cabinets? Who else but someone with absolutely perfect, infinitely unconditional love?”
from Captivated by Grace by Dr. David Jeremiah, p. 76

I’m thankful that God is kind. Kindness can sometimes be a rare commodity in this world.

I’m thankful that God is tolerant. The word used means “self-restraint.” God restrains Himself from punishing me as my actions and thoughts deserve.

I’m thankful that God is patient. In some translations, it reads “longsuffering.” Having looked up the word “tolerant,” I thought I’d also look up “patient” as well. I didn’t expect to find anything interesting, but you never know. I was wrong! I found it quite interesting. Strong’s Greek dictionary defines the word translated as “patient” or “longsuffering” as “longanimity.” OK, I didn’t know what that word meant, either. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary to the rescue again – longanimity means “a disposition to bear injuries patiently.” God is not only patient, He is pre-disposed to bear injuries patiently. That’s quite different from waiting patiently for the light to turn green. He bears injuries patiently. (Hmmm. Makes me consider how I’m doing in that department lately!)

Friends, there is always reason to be thankful, and I am convinced that thankfulness is a key to experiencing the joy that God’s Word promises.

Don’t allow the busyness of the Christmas season to overwhelm you. Each day, be thankful that God is kind, tolerant and patient toward you and your loved ones.

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