The Fruit Of The Spirit–Longsuffering
Today’s Scripture: “If a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name. Insomuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, Rejoice!”– 1Peter 4:13-16.
THE LONG-SUFFERING silence of our Lord was the marvel of His foes.
“As a lamb that is led to the slaughter and as a sheep that before her shearers is dumb,” He opened not His mouth. Before the high priests, He held His peace. To Pilate He gave no answer. Amid the challenge and reproach of the Cross, He answered nothing, save in benediction and prayer. “When He was reviled He did not answer with reviling; when He suffered, He uttered no threats, but left His wrongs in the hands of the righteous Judge.”
Surely this has been His habit through the centuries. In every child suffering through drunken parents, in every martyr burnt at the stake, in every innocent sufferer before high-handed oppression, He has been led as a lamb to the slaughter, but how silent He is! Man may murder His servants and blaspheme His name, but He says never a word! This is the purport of one of those strange announcements which make the Book of Revelation so remarkable. “When He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half-an-hour.” The songs of heaven are hushed; the multitude which cannot be numbered listens to the groans and appeals of their unhelped brethren; the angels stay their anthems, and seem intent on the tragedies about to be described (Revelation 8:1). But there does not appear to be any help.
But remember that silence does not imply indifference. At the very time that our Lord was silent before His judges, He was bearing the sin of the world. When the silence is proclaimed in Heaven, we find that the prayers of the saints are being presented on the throne—prayers of intercession, mingled with much incense of Christ’s merit.
It is in this spirit that we are to suffer. We are to conceal our anguish as stoics. No suffering rightly borne is in vain, but in some little way, which you may not understand, you are helping Christ in His redemptive work. Be calm, and quiet, and glad! Pray for those who despitefully use you, and ask that your sufferings, rightly borne, may lead to their conversion, as Stephen’s did in the case of Saul.