I am convinced that the terminology of “Patience / Long Suffering” in the framework of the Fruit of the Spirit is misunderstood. I believe the term which is translated from the combined Greek words which mean Long Tempered has more to do with suffering grief and pain; than it does with being patient and singing “kumbyah” or not angered easily. I have a few reasons for taking this position.
1.) The fruit of the Holy Spirit is a reflection of God’s nature. It’s a reflection of the Spirit of God working through, in and over us – both as individuals and within community.
2.) The Holy Spirit can be grieved by our own actions and therefore its right and proper for us to feel his grief in our own life.
3.) Paul is deeply pastoral. His writings to people suffering grief and pain would include some measure of acknowledging how the Spirit of God works through our grief.
4.) Grief normally if not always contains some form of anger and deep sadness. It’s healthy and godly for us to express our grief and pain.
When I was in hospital in 2007, I saw many people who were not Christians facing hopelessness in their trial. Whereas, within the framework of grief and pain; Christians facing trials, had a measure of joy and kindness mixed with their pain. Friends, if your going through a measure of pain and grief at this moment, and your asking where is your measure of joy – perhaps, God is granting you the measure of long suffering, which is the ability to continue on and endure in the face of heartache and pain. During my own time of grief and pain – I seemed to be isolated from God. Where was he in the midst of my pain and suffering I asked?
Perhaps, just perhaps his Spirit was with me, working through me, over me and in me – helping me to endure and work through that very heartache and pain in the form of long suffering – and just perhaps, the Spirit of God is working through you, in you and over you – when you feel isolated and deserted by God in the midst of your grief.
I’m interested in your thoughts?