James appeals to believers to be patient “until the coming of the Lord” (James 5:7). God Himself knows what it’s like to wait for something precious and longed for. Even before His incarnation, Jesus patiently led His people through the desert. (Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, 401). “Long-suffering” was personified in those forty years, and Jesus saw their lives in the Promised Land by faith even when they were unable to see it themselves.
Jesus was consistently and enduringly patient with His closest companions—His disciples. They assumed His wishes incorrectly by shooing away children that He wanted close by (Luke 18:15, 16); they rebuked Him for sharing the painful future that awaited Him (Mark 8:31, 32); they held vindictive views of people who did not welcome Jesus (Luke 9:54); and they continued to ask Him when He would restore Israel as a nation even after He was raised from the dead (Acts 1:6). For most of His earthly ministry, they seemed to be a half-step or more off where He was headed and what He was doing. Yet Jesus never “fired” a disciple. He didn’t fiercely rebuke them out of anger, demote them, or give up on them. Instead, He patiently and repeatedly answered their questions, calmed their fears, and saw the fruit of their lives when they couldn’t even see it themselves (Luke 22:32).
This Jesus of the Gospels is the same Jesus who lives today. He extends the same lovingkindness and long-suffering to all of His children. He encourages generous forgiveness and forbearance with others, because He models this Himself. He patiently retraces the steps of a confused sheep that doesn’t know where it’s going and rescues it from danger only He can see. He steadfastly watches the road where a child walked away, waiting for a glimpse of their return. As soon as He sees their form on the horizon, He runs toward them, eager to embrace and restore.
Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross while His closest friends abandoned and denied Him, the leaders of His people hated and mocked Him, and His Father’s presence was withdrawn. (Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, 759). He endured all these things without removing Himself from the situation and without complaint because of “the joy that was set before Him” (Heb. 12:2). He was looking toward the result. He was patient with His overwhelming circumstances, and by faith He saw His disciples emboldened, the leaders converted or proved wrong, and Himself seated “at the right hand of the throne of God” (v. 2). And that was enough for Him.