1 Corinthians 13 says that love is patient. The meaning of the word patient can also be described by the phrase long-suffering.
How can God show us this love?
God’s love is perfect and, therefore, perfectly patient. Just to be clear, God’s love being patient does not mean he condones or overlook our sin when we fall and are in need of his patience, it does mean that his love for us does not waver in the midst of our sin. His love for us is not dependent on our perfection or completely being freed of sin, but on the assurance that His Son’s payment was sufficient for our sins, and continues to be sufficient for us every day. It is with this truth that we are able to understand God’s patient love for us! Instead of expecting perfection from us, He gives us his perfection daily.
So, how does God show us this love?
God showed us kindness and mercy by doing for us what we could not do ourselves. He paid our way long before we came to be. He showed us His love before we could receive it, knowing we might not, and knowing that even if we did receive it we would still fall. And then He waited. Hoping that we would receive His free gift, watching us reject Him all the while. His offer was not a one-shot kind of thing. He didn’t put a time limit or shot clock on it. He offered it and then waited for the day we would receive it, like the father in Luke 15 who stood watching for his son to return.
God’s long-suffering love does not end when we come into relationship with Him. All of us who have been in relationships with people know that when the people we love do things that hurt themselves it hurts us. That’s what God experiences when we sin. He watches us hurt ourselves and it hurts Him to see it. He suffers long with us by remaining present with us when we sin, healing our hurts, and calling us to holiness.
Why is it important that God’s love is long-suffering?
Simply, because we need it to be. We are all prideful and stubborn, full of doubts, and not easy to change. In His relationship with us, God has had to be patient as we work through our pride and doubt so that we can believe in Him and surrender our lives. Even then, He still has to be patient with us as we work out the rebellion that is in all of our hearts. Years of pride, years of doubts and years of rebellion; yet, God has loved me all along. And He always will. Years of pride, years of doubts and years of rebellion; yet, God has loved YOU all along. And He always will. There is nothing that any of us could do to cause God to stop loving us because His love suffers long, wide, deep and high. He never gives up on us.