Patience is Creative

John Chrysostom, the golden tongued orator of yesteryear, defined longsuffering as the grace that belongs to a man who has the power to avenge himself but who does not.

John and Susannah Wesley had 21 children. He said to Susannah of one: “How do you have the patience to tell that blockhead the same thing 20 times over?”

Susannah who regularly manifested a Christlike temperament said, “If I had told him but nineteen times, I should have lost all my labor.”

Longsuffering produces a better product. When the masterful artist Leonardo da Vinci was painting his famous “Last Supper” he was chided for standing for long periods staring at the canvas without making a stroke. Someone queried, “Why do you do this?” He answered, “When I pause the longest, I make the most telling strokes with my brush.”

Patience restricts pride. Paul had a “thorn in the flesh” which he described as a messenger of Satan. He said it was given to him “lest he should be exalted above measure,” that is, to prevent him from having an ego trip (II Cor. 2: 7). He had to be longsuffering to endure his thorn in the flesh and it was to his benefit.

Patience renews trust. We are told the Lord won’t allow us to be tempted above that which we are able. He won’t give us a test we can’t pass. Years of experience proves this. There are brief intervals when it does not seem reasonable, but over a period of time it proves to be so.

In nature we see examples of this. A diamond is simply a lump of coal that didn’t quit working.

When an irritating object, like a grain of sand, gets under the mantle of an oyster it simply covers the irritant with the most precious part of its being. The result, a beautiful pearl. The irritation caused by the foreign object is stopped by it being encrusted with the pearly formation. A true pearl is a simple example of longsuffering’s victory over irritation.

Patience revives others. We are told to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6: 2). When we exercise long suffering in supporting others we revive them.

God has been long suffering with you. Why? What is it He desires to achieve through you?

“… if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8: 25)