“The distance around the entire city will be six miles.
And from that day the name of the city will be
‘The Lord Is There.’ ”
Ezekiel 48:35 NLT
I read an article this week that really pushed me to redefine how I show love in all my relationships. Here’s the quote that challenged me the most:
“The meaning of the word patience (in Greek, macrothumea) is ‘long suffering’ or ‘slow to anger.’ Love suffers because it is the nature of love to suffer. Remember what C.S. Lewis said: ‘Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken!’ But there is no alternative. We are not only called to love, we are also commanded to love. Such love means loving not only when your heart is whole, but loving when your heart is broken. It means loving when the person you are trying to love is continuously hurting you afresh. Long-suffering means that love suffers well.” (Patience in Relationships by Jill Briscoe)
Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like that might be the most challenging thing about love. Embracing the long-suffering aspect of love is about as inviting as hugging a cactus. Who in their right mind would do that?!
He hugs each and every one of us, no matter how prickly we are. And THAT (not the deserving or undeserving qualities of our friend, child or mate) is why we push ourselves to suffer well in our relationships.
I just finished up reading the book of Ezekiel this past week and one of the most powerful lessons I will take with me from the whole 48 chapters is in the last sentence, even more specifically, the last four words:
“The distance around the entire city will be six miles. And from that day the name of the city will be ‘The Lord Is There.’ “
“The LORD Is There.” This promise is so important that these words are the name of the city he gives to his people once they come out of captivity. He wanted them to know that he is there. He is long-suffering. That’s where we find our comfort when weak and weary from the cactus spikes of life – in the promise that The LORD Is There.
- When we feel alone or misunderstood – The LORD Is There
- When it feels like the trial might never end – The LORD Is There
- When we don’t know if we can forgive the hurts done to us – The LORD Is There
- When the whole world seems to have a partner but you – The LORD Is There
He is our city. We live in his presence. He is where we get the strength to suffer well while loving others.
This week, every time I tell someone I love them, I will be thinking I long-suffer you.
Dear Lord, I can’t even imagine how challenging I am to love. I can’t get through a single day without hurting you, needing you, and or even simply forgetting to thank you. I’m so thankful that your love is long-suffering. Please move your Holy Spirit within me to make me long-suffering like you. Transform my love from the conditional, comfortable kind into the long-suffering, you-ish kind. Amen.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/25934927@N08/2550905983″>Austria</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>