I came face-to-face with longsuffering a few days ago.
Or the lack thereof.
Blue and I had reached our turn around place along our daily walk. It’s a beautiful spot near a small church. A huge meadow borders the forest with a lone sugar maple gracing the western corner. We often see deer grazing and find evidence of coyotes from the night before. The grass stretches long this time of year, harboring smaller critters like rabbits and groundhogs.
On this day, Blue and I had made our turn toward home when he picked up a scent. We had been walking at a steady pace, making good progress. Then he stopped abruptly, nose to ground, ears closed to his master’s voice. He was so focused on the scent — the distraction — that he completely blocked me out.
I pulled on his leash.
He ignored me.
I tugged harder.
Blue stiffened his legs and shifted his 125 pounds of chestnut colored mastiff to his back legs so that his chest went down and his rear-end went up. He lowered his head and peeked at me through the heavy folds of skin that covered his eyes.
This ol’ boy wasn’t going anywhere until he figured out what the new scent was.
I coaxed him. I tugged. I tried to bribe him with a treat, but Blue clearly made the decision that he was in charge.
That’s when I lost it.
I fussed at him like a lunatic because he wouldn’t obey me. He grunted a little bit, but kept on sniffing. Finally … finally! … Blue discerned that it would be in his best interest to do what I asked. I was so frustrated!
And then I saw it.
It was like the word ‘longsuffering’ was written in the tall, swaying grass of the meadow.
And that was something I clearly was lacking at the moment — the fruit of patience in my spirit had taken a detour.
I thought about how patient the Lord is with me when I drag my feet or simply cross my arms, sit down, and pout. We can be going along together — He and I — just fine, and then I get distracted or frustrated or anxious or fearful or tired … and before you know it my forward progress has ended and the Lord is patiently waiting for me to get with the program.
What does the longsuffering of the Lord look like?
But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth. ~ Psalm 86:15
For a period of about forty years He put up with them in the wilderness. ~ Acts 13:18
Now, that one made me smile because just as I’m sure God had those kind of days with the children of Israel, He has those days with me … and you. But He is patient. He suffers long with our attitudes when the beatitudes are not manifesting in us. Ahem!
And then there is this perfect picture of God’s longsuffering for us, His children:
He found him in a desert land, And in the howling waste of a wilderness; He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil of His eye. ~ Deuteronomy 32:10
How great is our God?! He is patient and kind, faithful and true.
His love for us knows no bounds.
Softening my tone, I bent down and got Blue to look me in the eyes. My arms circled his barrel chest. I lay my head against his and said, “I love you, Blue. Come on Buddy, I’ve got work to do. Let’s head on home.”
Blue wagged his tail and we followed the winding road home, safe and secure in the Father’s arms.
And a little bit wiser.
Thank you so much for stopping by. I would love for you to share what’s on your heart in the comments below. Scroll a little farther down and you’ll see where you can leave your comments. Together, we can find the nearness of God in our darkest moments.
Sweet blessings to you,