One of the greatest challenges in life is to work closely yet harmoniously with other people. When we relocated to South Carolina, I spent several years working as a dental assistant. I enjoyed the work, but patiently dealing with others was sometimes more taxing than the demands of the tedious dental procedures.
I remember the day Rhonda joined our staff. She was barely five feet tall, but her every movement was with gigantic reverberations. She could open no drawer or cupboard without the entire office hearing, and whatever she looked for required multiple openings to be located. Her voice, echoing down the hall, seemed three times the size of her petite frame. Every step she took and every move she made was accompanied by noise in some form.
The doctor and I, however, tended to be on the quiet side. After chatting with the patients for a few minutes, we began the procedure and worked silently. You can imagine the obvious contrast in approaches. She’d make one swoop down the hallway, and my nerves would be on edge.
The Lord soon convicted me about my attitude. He had placed Rhonda there to work with me. He wanted me to share His love and calming peace with her, but my carnal heart wanted to keep a safe, quiet distance. When I asked the Lord to let me see my co-worker as He did, Psalm 145:8 was His admonishment to my intolerant heart:
“The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.”
The Lord is gracious!
He gives us what we don’t deserve. Our salvation is His most gracious gift. On the cross, He provided the sacrifice our sins required. The Lord supplies our daily requirements and showers us with blessings from His tender hand. His continual, loving presence and friendship sustain us through each day. Through His Word, He reveals His precious promises for us to claim. His marvelous grace – His enabling power – matches our every need as we strive to live for His glory.
The Lord is full of compassion!
His compassion never fails us; they are new every morning. He loves us with an everlasting, unconditional, and fervent love. Touched with the knowledge of our weaknesses, He offers His strength and protection. No matter how hopeless our circumstances may seem, His lovingkindness never leaves us.
The Lord is slow to anger!
How often we fail Him! Yet He is longsuffering and patient with us. Though others forget, He remembers that we are only dust. He understands us and knows that our ways are not His ways. Because He is not willing for anyone to perish, He delays what we clearly deserve – His judgment – to give us time to come to Him.
The Lord is of great mercy!
He doesn’t give us what we deserve. We are not worthy to receive the least of His mercies, yet the earth is full of His kindness. When we live for His glory, His mercy and goodness follow us. He provides for us an eternal dwelling place in His presence. God’s tender mercy is abundant and everlasting to all who place their trust in Him.
Through this verse, I was reminded that my Lord is gracious and longsuffering to me – not impatient. And as His child, He expects me to be the same. Before long, Rhonda and I could sit down at lunchtime with a cup of hot tea and talk peacefully. Her noisy ways didn’t improve, but God took my impatience and turned it into compassion for her soul.
The dentist’s father-in-law died suddenly during the time that Rhonda and I worked together. Because of the friendship God had built, she went with me to the funeral and heard the gospel clearly presented. As we walked to our cars after the service, I had the privilege of talking to her about her need of a Savior.
A few weeks later, Rhonda left our office. When she told me goodbye on her last night, she gave me a hug, a box of our favorite peach tea, and thanked me for being her friend. As the door of the office closed behind her, the announcer on the Christian radio station read Psalm 145:8. I was overwhelmed to hear those familiar words over the office intercom. The Lord was clearly reminding me how I had thought I couldn’t work with Rhonda unless something changed. Slowly, a transformation had occurred, but it was with me, not Rhonda. Oh, I hadn’t mastered the Psalm 145:8 qualities of my Lord, but He had given me a glimpse of His gracious patience and of my humble responsibility. Who is waiting for you to exchange your impatience for His love?
Written by June Kimmel. This article was published in the Spring 2008 edition of The Beautiful Spirit magazine.
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