In 1st Corinthians 13, you can read the description of what love is according to God. One of the attributes of love is patience or longsuffering. This is a virtue that many find a constant struggle.
In an age when technological advancement makes things fast paced and convenient, patience can become quite challenging for a lot of people. We value quick processing times, so whenever things become slow for some reason, it quickly strains our relationships or how we treat other people from whom we expect something. For instance, a man would insult or threaten the cashier in a fast-food restaurant for slow service, or a son would yell at his aging father for doing things too slowly. We also want what is convenient; whenever things get inconvenient, we easily lash out at people who, intentionally or unintentionally, have caused it. Other unmet ideals, such as the manner of doing things, expected results, miscommunication, and the like, can test patience as well. Everybody is always in a rush, wants to be comfortable, and wants to get the expected results; relationships can easily be swept aside for the sake of those ideals. When God told us to love others, that also includes being patient with them. The Bible says that we are to be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2). Patience is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. As God’s chosen people, He calls us to clothe ourselves with patience (Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;). The word “clothe” there can mean that patience may not be a natural part of us; we have to learn to put it over our flesh or sinful nature. We have to allow the Holy Spirit to rule over our natural responses in order for us to practice patience as we love others.
Even when it comes to our relationship with God and waiting upon His will, we easily lose patience. When we pray to God for something and He does not answer according to our expectations, we become impatient to do things our own way and in our own time, and even hate God for it. We must understand that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). That means He knows what He’s doing way better than we ever could. Being patient in waiting for His answer is the wisest thing we can do, and we trust that God is never slow in keeping His promises (2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.). When God gives His word, it will never return to Him empty but will always accomplish His desire and purpose for us (Isaiah 55:10-11). Impatience can greatly affect how we love God. Understanding His capacity and ways can help us stay patient as we wait and trust in God.
If we pray to become love as God is love, patience is part of the package. And it’s not a difficult thing to do—His love is operating in and through us. If we keep our eyes on Him and let Him transform us, then we will surely become patient and operate through His patience. There is an overwhelming difference between our patience and His patience. While our patience will probably last for seconds, minutes, or hours, God has been patient with man for ages; right from the first time we sinned up to now. Our patience may cost us little, but God’s patience with us cost Him everything; Jesus died on the cross for our redemption and restoration. Since God is love (1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.) and love is patient, that tells us that He is naturally patient because He is naturally loving. Knowingly, we can be patient with others because our God has always been patient with us. Love is patient, and love never fails. God (Who is love) is patient, and He never fails. Do you want to have God’s patience operating through you? Trust in our unfailing God and allow Him to change how we respond to others.
“Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus…”
(Romans 15:5 KJV)