Bible Society of South Africa

Twenty-two people in the Bible who had to be more patient than you: Cornelius - 11 August 2023

By Xanthe Hancox

Bible text(s)

30Cornelius said, “It was about this time three days ago that I was praying in my house at three o'clock in the afternoon. Suddenly a man dressed in shining clothes stood in front of me 31and said: ‘Cornelius! God has heard your prayer and has taken notice of your works of charity. 32Send someone to Joppa for a man whose full name is Simon Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner of leather, who lives by the sea.’

Acts 10:30-32GNBOpen in Bible reader

Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me and said, “Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. Acts 10:30-32a, NIV

Cornelius, a devout and God-fearing man, was engaged in prayer when the angel appeared to him. The angel conveyed a clear message from God, instructing Cornelius to send for Simon Peter, who was lodging in Joppa. Filled with faith and obedience, Cornelius promptly sent messengers to carry out God’s command.

What strikes me from this passage is the patience Cornelius must have exercised during those three days waiting for Peter to arrive. After receiving such a profound message from the angel, he could have easily become anxious or restless. Instead, he demonstrated unwavering trust in God’s timing.

In those three days, Cornelius waited with great expectation. He knew that something extraordinary was about to unfold because of his obedience to God’s instructions. Despite the anticipation he must have felt, he did not rush the process, nor did he lose hope. Instead, he sought the presence of God with his household, prepared to listen attentively to whatever Peter would share.

Often, when God sets a plan in motion, there is a waiting period involved. It is during these times that our patience is tested, and our faith is strengthened. Cornelius’ waiting period was not marked by anxiety or frustration; rather, it was characterised by a hopeful expectancy grounded in God’s faithfulness.

Today, let’s be encouraged by the example of Cornelius and embrace patience as an essential virtue in our journey of faith.

Prayer: Gracious Father, we thank you for the example of Cornelius and his steadfast patience while waiting for your plan to unfold. May we exhibit patient faith, eagerly anticipating your work in our lives. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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