A while ago I found this guy who really understands me. It’s like, no matter where I am in my life he seems to know exactly what’s going on with me, and he always knows how to say it out loud so I don’t have to.
Too bad he’s dead.
The apostle Paul knew exactly what I am going through today. He even wrote it down for me.
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” – 1 Timothy 1:15-16
I have always known I am the worst Christian, and it’s something I’ve come to accept about myself. No matter how many people I’ve met, no matter how many could say that they are worse, I’ve known for a long time that they can never understand how deeply sinful my heart is.
I used to feel relieved when I found out that people who I considered holy were sinners too. The girl who read her bible all the time had a selfish streak a mile wide. The guy who acted as a spiritual leader was jobless and petulant about it. The super compassionate and loving had a bit of a drinking issue and a history of premarital sex. I was so happy when a beloved pastor’s wife spoke louder than normal to get her point across about a broken dish that I almost forgot that it was her way of yelling at me, because I finally saw a side of her I could relate to: the human side.
I get very impatient. I decide to do something myself or decide it will never happen. I get anxious when waiting for something that is promised or guaranteed, to the point of convincing myself it will never get here. These are not very good ways to prove my trust in an incredibly patient God.
When Paul says that he was shown mercy so that Christ Jesus would be able to display his immense patience I feel like the man had visions of a future where an impatient and rebellious girl would never be satisfied. It’s like God gave him a special dream where he showed a bunch of tin boxes with wheels and big metal birds and enormous scary buildings, pointed out a girl in the middle of it with constantly changing hair color and whispered in Paul’s ear, “She is going to have days where she won’t believe that she will be able to make it. I need you to write to her and remind her about me.”
And that’s what I’m getting today, a reminder of why I’m here and what my life is about. I get to read a reminder that Christ is working in me, being patient with me beyond my understanding, so that my life can be an example to other people. And when I remember his patience, which I don’t think anyone else in the world can have for me, I want to have that patience. I want to be an example of what the patience of Christ Jesus looks like on this earth. So that’s what I’ll be praying for, because believe me, I’m not there yet.