“Longsuffering” is a fruit of the spirit and it basically means patient and slow to anger. The original words are more related to the idea of breath as in, “taking a deep breath” rather than huffing and puffing in anger.
I kind of like the literary definition, the imagery to be found in the visual of a much beleaguered and longsuffering wife, or a faithful servant or a caregiver. “Beleaguered” it means under siege, beset with difficulties and longsuffering, perseverance! Enduring it all with some grace and good humor.
Almost nobody choses to follow Jesus Christ and as their gift, their superpower, eagerly awaits the fruit of the Spirit we call, longsuffering. Especially not true in today’s world of anxious toe tapping because the microwave is taking too long.
If you have ever cried out for vindication, for justice delayed, justice deferred, justice lost in the system somewhere, or lamented and wailed at sheer futility of it all, or waffled somewhere between complete despair and outrage at God for allowing such things to drone on, you may have encountered longsuffering.
It sometimes gives birth to some gallows humor and the ability to roll your eyes so hard they are in danger of getting stuck in the back of your head for all of eternity.
Once I was pouring out all my frustration over this constant, perpetual, never ending injustice, and the Lord said, “justice,” it means Just-us.” He and I. More of Him, less of me. What you want isn’t “justice,” it is more of, “Just Us.” Healing. Grace. The binding up of your wounds. Soul care. Personal time with the Lord. Restoration of the ten fold kind, where I replace what was taken, what was stolen, ten times over.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned in there like, why do you seek justification when I have already justified you?
Vindication it means, “the action of clearing someone of blame or suspicion.” Salvation, grace, mercy, means Jesus has cleared you of all blame and suspicion. ALL. Your sins are forgiven, even forgotten, as far as the East is from the West.
Validation, confirmation that your perceptions of reality and your feelings are somewhat accurate and righteous is also to be found resting at the feet of the Lord and not in some external, arbitrary thing called, “justice.”
Which just leaves a wee bit of residual vengeance which, yes, I still do crave at times! The Lord has said vengeance is in His lane, and not our territory. “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.” Just the same, once somebody said something nasty to me and then turned around and walked face first into a pole and my little dark heart just sang praises. That was awesome and also the Lord’s doing, not mine.
Proverbs 16:32 says, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” Amen! Learn to rule your spirit and you become more mighty than he that takes a city. Also one of my favorites, Proverbs 25:28, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”
I still want some justice, I want the things I count on to be stable, I want some order in my society, I want to live in a world that makes a tiny bit of sense, and I want to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
A bit comical, socialism is very popular here, this idea that we’re all going to share and share alike, and recently someone had their car stolen. You’d be quite proud of me, I resisted the urge to say a single word, but others did not and I found it all outrageously funny. In a socialist system without property rights, one can’t really have their stuff stolen. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Guess someone just had need of your car? Tough luck, suck it up buttercup.
Also, no calling those cops you just went and defunded.
Don’t “wait” for justice. Don’t “wait” for vindication. Don’t “wait” for validation. Justice is seated in victory at the right hand of the Father and our enjoyment of Him begins with that “just us,” where we turn to Him with our wounds, our lamentations, and our questions.
Our whole country seems to be perched on the edge of waiting, waiting for the lockdowns to be over, waiting for a covid vaccine, waiting for the economy to crash, waiting for the election to be settled, waiting for darkness to be exposed, waiting for the next shoe to drop, waiting for Jesus to return.
First rule of Longsuffering Club is an ironic one, a bit of a paradox, but it is, Don’t wait. Step into what you’ve already been given. Advent arrived a few thousand years ago and our time of waiting is over.