Saturday 13 April

7 Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord.

The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.

The Greek word translated here as “patient” is makrothymeō. In addition to “patience” it carries a number of connotations. It can mean, “to be of a long spirit, not to lose heart,” or “to persevere, or endure.”

Makrothymeō is the quality Michael Gerson alluded to in his sermon in the Washington Cathedral when he spoke of the debilitating effects of depression. Gerson said,

Many, understandably, pray for a strength they do not possess. But God’s promise is somewhat different: That even when strength fails, there is perseverance. And even when perseverance fails, there is hope. And even when hope fails, there is love. And love never fails. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYu4xKGRi8Q)

Makrothymeō is the steady determination to carry on in the same direction, even when carrying on seems impossibly hard. It is the act of simply putting one foot in front of the other. It may only be the tiniest action, the smallest gesture towards life; but it makes all the difference. There are times when just getting out of bed in the morning is the work of makrothymeō. It is a heart quality; it comes from trust that “the coming of the Lord is near.”

That Presence for which we long is not far off. That power of love that is our heart’s cry is not remote. This power lives within us. It is indomitable. There is no force on earth that can ultimately undo this force of love.

Gerson affirms that

Fate may do what it wants. But this much is settled. In our right minds, we know that love is at the heart of all things.

Life is not a reckless gamble. The presence of love reassures us again and again that, in the midst of the darkness the light does shine. Tragedy and brokenness are never the final words about life. Hope is born in each new bloom that blossoms, every child that is born, every act of kindness performed. For eyes that are open to see, and hearts that hold makrothymeō, the presence and power of love are always near at hand.