Ephesians 4:1 -3 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Longsuffering is simply another word for patience. I remember hearing Charles Swindoll talking about the donkey that stands to be loaded with the burden he is to bear. I do not remember the Greek word he was describing, but I still see the picture of the little donkey, just waiting to carry a load – probably as heavy as he is.
We learn to wait, patiently, while God works in the lives of those around us. As we stand, patiently, waiting for the Lord’s work to be manifest in those other lives, we simply pray for those around us. As we do this, we learn to forgive immediately the small infractions and transgressions of those we love. We learn to cut them some slack.
At the Christian Communicators Conference in Asheville, NC, last August, I learned the value of extending grace, grace, grace. As we extend that grace (patience, forebearance), we find that our spirits become quieter.
An old proverb says that flowers leave their fragrance on the hand that bestows them. Similarly, we cannot extend grace, patience, forgiveness and love without those benefits returning to us multiplied.
Help us to learn to extend your grace, your love, to others. Grant us the patience to wait quietly for your work to be manifest in people’s lives. Forgive us our testiness and impatience when they flare up, and give us the strength to overcome those faults.
In Jesus’ most precious name.