But I received mercy for this reason that in me... Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience...
Just imagine you are in a museum and one of the rooms is full of life-size figures of people from all over the world and in different times. You come to one figure and it is called Paul. What do you think the notice describing him might say? Well, here is what he wrote about himself in verse 16: "Public Sinner Number One — someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy." (The Message)
It seemed that Paul, to begin with, was a 'no-hoper' as far as becoming a Christian was concerned, but God was patient with him even though Paul persecuted Christians and was insolent — he was a thoroughly nasty character. But God was patient with him. All that he had heard about Jesus slowly but surely began to seep into Paul's mind and heart, and the mercy and grace of God brought him to put his trust for salvation in the very Jesus whom he had been fighting against. God had been patient with him. When Paul thought of it all, it was almost as if he gave a leap of joy and sang out: "Deep honour and bright glory to the King of All Time — One God, Immortal, Invisible, ever and always. Oh, yes!" (verse 17, The Message)
Perhaps you pray for someone who seems far away from trusting in Jesus. Don't give up praying. Be patient. God is patient — he was patient with Paul and maybe he was with us too. Keep on praying, God hears us!
Dear Lord, thank you for your patience with me. Help me to have the same. Amen.