Tuesday, January 8, 2019

“Longsuffering. Long Suffering"

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…

"Longsuffering.  Long Suffering"

     "Longsuffering."  Few Biblical terms more vividly describe the sensibility and acts of God toward humanity, including His trusting children in Christ.

    "But Thou, o Lord, art a God full of compassion and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth" (Psalm 86:15).

    Our Heavenly Father indeed suffers long with all.  I think of this sometimes when hearing of events that clearly portray the sin and darkness into which humanity so easily descends.  "Lord, why haven't You dealt with this or that wicked person, evil group, or cruel nation?"  It then comes to me as a frigid splash of Truth in the face of my heart: "Lord, why haven't You dealt with me in far more severe terms of chastening and scourging?"  Longsuffering supplies the answer, namely, the Love that suffers long with all - and with ourselves - in a measure and degree that should keep us continually startled by grace.  "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed because His compassions fail not" (Lamentations 3:22).

    Another bracing splash of Truth involves the reason our Heavenly Father can, without compromising His holiness and justice, act toward a race of beings so "prone to wander," as the old hymn so rightly describes

     "All we like sheep have gone astray.  We have turned every one to His own way.  And the Lord hath laid on Him the inquiry of us all" (Isaiah 53:6).

    God the Father suffers long with sinners and saints because His Son the Lord Jesus Christ suffered long on the cross of Calvary.  The shadow of the cross has always governed God's dealings with humanity in the mercy of  "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8).  Whether before or after the Lord Jesus died, Divine patience flows upon the current of the Savior's blood.  God suffers long with unbelievers, seeking by His Spirit, His Word, and His church to lead them to faith in the saving grace of the Lord Jesus.  He suffers long with believers, seeking to lead us more and more to faith in the sanctifying and ultimately glorifying grace of the Lord Jesus.  All such forbearance emanates from the Savior who died in space and time, but who suffered infinite agonies of heart that transcended earthly sensibilities of sorrow.  

    "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46).  

    How could the perfectly trusting Son of God be led to utter such an expression of despair?  The only possible answer reveals that the agony of Calvary surpasses any brokenhearted sorrow we could ever begin to contemplate.  This we know: all of God's patience finds us because all of His wrath found our Savior at Calvary.  "He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21).  Longsuffering, as formed and forged in the fires of Calvary's long suffering - we do well to fall often to our faces in worship and wonder as our Father's patience graces us because it did not grace our blessed Savior as He bore our sins on His cross of sorrow, pain, forsakenness, and death.

"Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.  Yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted."
(Isaiah 53:6)

Weekly Memory Verse
   Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen."
(I Timothy 1:17)

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