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True Love Suffers Long

Edmund Morris, in his book Theodore Rex, writes the following about President Theodore Roosevelt and his wife, Edith. "Teddy Roosevelt's attitude toward Edith — beyond the fact that they personified every syllable of the marriage vow — was one of dog-like adoration. He looked to her for porch company, for approving pats and hugs, and sometimes, guiltily, for discipline when he had done something wrong. She could bring him up short, during one of his indiscreet monologues, by giving off a special quietness that he could sense within seconds . . . .Roosevelt often outraged her sense of propriety. 'You only have to live with me,' she periodically reminded him, 'while I have to live with you' " (p 451). Her statement brings to mind Bible words about love we don't often hear in modern music, movies, etc. By the Spirit of God in 15t Corinthians 13:4a, the apostle Paul wrote, 'Love suffers." But that's not all. Paul went on to say that "Love suffers long." Some translations say, "Love is patient," and that is certainly true, for the Greek term makrothumei (from makros) means "to be long-spirited, forbearing, patient" (A. T. Robertson' Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol. 4, p 177; and Strong's Concordance). But the word also means to "be longsuffering, have long patience, patiently endure." And so the King James Version is right to translate it, "Charity suffereth long" and the New King James Version "Love suffers long." If it's the real McCoy, love suffers. And, if circumstances call for it, love suffers long. Important to remember since you have to live with me, and I with you!

Genesis 29:20 makes this striking statement (we don't have space to examine the context): "And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her." Jacob no doubt had feelings for Rachel, but his love was more than a fleeting and flimsy feeling based on instant gratification. One of the worst things we have come to believe about love is that it is supposed to always feel good, or more pointedly, is supposed to always make me feel good. We talk about "falling in love" like love is an accident people have no choice and control over. So, popular thinking says, if we "fall in" love, we may also "fall out" (and then walk out) of it through no fault of our own. Traditional wedding vows ask the marrying couple to love each other "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness as in health." Sadly, many love only until suffering sets in, and often very slight suffering at that. Parents, help your children prepare for a happy, enduring marriage by modeling love that suffers long. Fred Smith wrote about being in a donut shop in Grand Saline, Texas. "A young farm couple was sitting at the table next to mine. He was wearing overalls and she a simple gingham dress. After finishing their donuts, he got up to pay the bill, and I noticed she didn't follow him. But then he came back and stood in front of her. She put her arms around his neck and he lifted her up, revealing that she was wearing a full-body brace. He lifted her out of the chair and backed out the front door to the pick-up truck, with her hanging around his neck. As he gently put her in the truck, everyone in the shop watched.  No one said anything until a waitress remarked, almost reverently, 'He took his vows seriously.’””  @ www.biblemoments.org/Bulletins/v05%20n14.pdf)

The cross of Christ reminds us that in any human relationship, true love is willing to suffer long.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ