Saturday, January 6, 2018

Love is Patient

1 Corinthians 13:4a
Love is patient, love is kind.

Proverbs 14:29
A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.

Proverbs 19:11
A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

Patience is required for many life moments. I know my patience has stretched like Silly Putty until a hole poked through the center. As I've prayed on and thought about patience in the context of love this week, the example that keeps popping into my head involves a baby. Not a particular one, could be any little one who can't feed themselves, yet. To set the scene—I've buckled the child in the highchair, and I'm preparing a yummy jar of smooshed up green beans. (You know, the ones with no flavor that are a putrid green.) I've warmed them in a pan of hot water, because I don't want to overheat them. I stir and check the temp, several times. The whole time I'm stirring, I'm also entertaining my little one, so she doesn't cry. Finally, the temperature meets my expectations. I sit down in front of my sweet, little dear and spoon up the first bite. She opens her mouth like a baby bird and takes the spoonful.  When I aim the second bite at her mouth, she closes her lips tight and refuses to eat. So we play the airplane game. "Here comes the plane. Vroom." And it sails by those pursed lips. Until finally she open her mouth again, takes a bite, remembers how bad it tastes, and without warning, spits it all over my face. Do I give up? No, I clean myself up and try again. That, my friends, is patience. I want the baby to eat a healthy meal, so I keep trying.
God wants me to nurture the kind of love that requires patience.
According to Proverbs, someone who is patient is understanding and has wisdom. In the thesaurus, another term listed for patience is "lack of complaint." When Jesus chose the twelve disciples to leave their livelihoods and follow him, I'm certain he understood how much patience he would need. He knew Peter would deny him, Thomas would doubt him, and Judas would betray him. Yet, he still loved them with patience and kindness. I wonder if Paul, the author of Corinthians, listed patience first in the traits of love, because it is one of the most difficult to develop. In our society, patience is not a virtue, but it needs to be. As believers in Jesus, we need to cultivate the courage to love with a patient heart, the way Jesus did.

When has your patience been tested? 

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