The King James Version of the Bible translates the word patience as longsuffering. Longsuffering can most clearly be explained as having a long temper. Though we’ve heard plenty about small tempers and short fuses, a long temper is not something we’ve heard much about. That’s likely because it’s easier for us to imagine God much like ourselves, short-temper included.
As we peer into our own lives, consider the depth and length of God’s temper, which has no end. Because we are often quick to see our faults, perhaps it is easy to imagine God has suffered long with our many imperfections as we strive toward the kingdom. It may be hard to comprehend how, with all our imperfections, God’s ever-loving patience can endure.
We must first retrain our thinking. Our own experience with patience is the human, flawed kind that is quick to run out. The idea of patience often becomes an issue when we run out of it; and sometimes, it doesn’t take much to make that happen. Too little sleep, a bad day at work, or feelings of melancholy are among the reasons why we might lash out at those we love most.
Small things may trigger our impatience, like the person in front of you driving too slowly, or the neighbor’s barking dog. We are pained because it outwardly affects others. When we lose our patience, we tend to lose it with the people we hold most dear. If we can lash out at them, it might be hard to imagine that God won’t lash out at us. But when we overreact to a small annoyance, we often don’t see the whole picture – we don’t understand our own triggers. The good news is that God does.
A common parenting technique directs parents to tell their children, “My patience jar is running out,” as a warning that a parent’s patience has limits. If a mother’s longsuffering can be strained, how much more can we expect from our Father? The beauty of God’s patience, though, is that His jar is never close to full. His patience, like His love for us, never fails.
Peter’s letter of comfort in the book of Romans explains that the kindness, tolerance, and patience of God leads to repentance. As followers of Christ, we should find comfort and solace in God’s unending grace. We must, despite how easy it is to see our faults, accept God’s patience. Accepting His patience means trusting His love, which is crucial to our walk with Him. Believing ourselves to be unworthy of God’s patience is to deny His mercy and question our redemption. We are commissioned to trust that love.
There is no greater demonstration of patience than that which God gives to us. When your thoughts turn to fear of rejection or doubts about God’s love, consider that His temper is much, much longer than our own flawed character. Whether we call it patience, forbearance, or longsuffering, God has plenty of it. Experience God’s loving patience by trusting the source from whom all blessings flow.Back to Blog