An acquaintance tells about a businessman who called a friend and got the run-around. “May I please speak with Mr. Jones?” “Just a minute, sir, while I transfer you to his department.” Second try: “May I speak with Mr. Jones?” “I’m sorry, I’ll have to connect you with his division.” After two minutes on hold, a voice comes on the phone and asks, “Who did you want to talk with?” “Mr. Jones, please.” “Just a minute…”
He waits for another two full minutes and then another voice says, “Mr. Jones’ office.” “May I speak with Mike Jones?” (This time he doesn’t bother with the “please” and there is a bit of an edge in his voice.) “Just a moment.” Obviously, the secretary didn’t know that a moment is a division of a second, and he waits for another two minutes when she comes back on the line with a monotonous, “I’m sorry, Mr. Jones is out of the office. May I tell him who is calling, or would you like to leave a message on his voice mail?”
Exasperated he replies, “Tell him this is God calling, and I can’t wait any longer!” and hangs up abruptly. A ridiculous story but there are some parallels between this incident and life which speak to my heart.
First–God does speak to us today, though His voice may not be physically audible. He doesn’t leave messages on voice mail, but He speaks in ways which are often unrecognized, because we think that someone so great and powerful would never speak unless lightning flashes from heaven or a heavenly trumpet blasts.
There’s a second parallel which you may have to think about for a few minutes for it to sink in. Here it is: Though God is far more long-suf¬fering and patient than we are with each other, there is an end to the patience of God when, like the man who hung up, God is finished with us. The Bible tells us this in many different ways.
One of the most forceful illustrations of this truth is the manner in which God treated mankind in the days of Noah. Every time you see a rainbow in the sky, you need to remind yourself of two truths: There is an end to the patience of God, yet His grace is still available to those who trust Him. God was patient with Noah’s generation. In spite of the fact Noah told them, “There is a limit–you can push God only so far,” they laughed and mocked in disbelief.
That attitude reminds me of the criminal who ate his last meal before his scheduled execution. After the main course, he pushed his desert aside saying, “I’ll have that later–not now.” There was no “later” for him or for those of Noah’s day. Eventually God said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever” yet Noah, believing what God said, “found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”
Where is the line over which you cross and the voice of God ceases to strive with you?” It’s an invisible one, not marked on the pavement in front of your house, but it’s there, nonetheless.
Because God doesn’t thunder forth audibly, saying “What you are about to do is wrong!” we tend to disregard His quiet voice within checking ourselves and saying, “I’m going in the wrong direction.”
A final thought: If there’s concern in your heart, you haven’t gone too far, but don’t push it. You don’t want God hanging up on you. Be sure, there is an end to the patience of God.
Resource Reading: Psalm 103
Text: And the LORD said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” Genesis 6:3, KJV
GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – May 3, 2017