Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones. (Proverbs 25:15)
We have been studying the fruit of the Spirit this fall on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. This week we come to the subject of patience or long suffering. I have been using the word patience by choice because it matches the silly song our kids have learned and the version we have memorized of Galatians 5:22 & 23. It seems however, that long-suffering is more in keeping with the original text. In fact it could be interpreted as “long passion” which inspires images of the Passion of the Christ. In his book “the Fruit and Gifts of the Holy Spirit” Wayne Caldwell states that “long-suffering is patience under trial.” Now many of us would pray for patience, but it seems that our spiritual journey to real Holy Spirit empowered patience is on the road of some kind of suffering. Patience can be proven to us in someone else when we make them suffer. When I think of patience I think of a mother dog trying to take a nap while her pups pull and tear at her ears and tail. We may think back to our immature days when we “tried the patience” of a teacher, youth leader or parent. It was our actions that often provided the suffering for someone else’s patience under trial. Some of those people I tormented the most, came to be the most admired mentors in my life. And from them I have an example of how to be patient with those who would lend me the opportunity to learn patience. Now I am a parent of a teen, now I am the pastor of the church, now my patience is under trial. Fortunately, though I don’t have the patience, I do have Christ’s Spirit dwelling in me. Abiding in Him gives me a patience which endures under trial. After all He who knew no sin, suffered tremendously for our sin and continues to patiently wait for us to come to realize His love for us. It is now time for us to go into our world as He did, but remember to be patient, to suffer long for those who Christ died for. I pray this week that His Spirit would flow through us, and we will be examples of Godly patience that is powerful enough to persuade a prince.