“And as he reasoned with them about righteousness and self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was terrified. ‘Go away for now,’ he replied, ‘and when I have a more convenient time, I’ll call for you again.’ He also hoped that Paul would bribe him, so he sent for him from time to time and talked with him. Two years went by in this way;” (vs 25-27a)
I have a friend who is so eternally patient I am constantly thinking that he is the definition of long suffering. It doesn’t seem to matter what the circumstances are (exciting, annoying, frustrating, etc) he is just patient. Patient to wait and see what is next. And not just patient, but calm and non-anxious in his patience. It reminds me of a line from one of my favorite movies, Shawshank Redemption. In this movie a banker, Andy (pictured above), is imprisoned at Shawshank Prison for killing his wife. When Andy arrives at the prison, one of the other main characters, Red (played by Morgan Freeman), says the following about Andy-
I could see why some of the boys took him for snobby. He had a quiet way about him, a walk and a talk that just wasn't normal around here. He strolled, like a man in a park without a care or a worry in the world, like he had on an invisible coat that would shield him from this place. Yeah, I think it would be fair to say...I liked Andy from the start.
Andy and my friend are both long suffering and patient. And so is the apostle Paul. For two years, Paul is imprisoned. Felix is afraid of him and not sure what to do so he just left Paul in prison and occasionally called for him to talk with him. I imagine that Paul in prison was a lot like Andy in Shawshank. He probably sang hymns and carried himself as though he was a many without a care or a worry in the world. Paul had a coat to shield him from prison; his coat was the Holy Spirit and his hope in Christ. I imagine Paul writing letters to the churches. I imagine him also sharing Christ each time he met with Felix and also sharing Christ with the guards and prisoners during that two years. He was able to be long suffering because of his trust in Jesus. This is also why my friend is so long suffering. He puts his trust in Jesus continually regardless of what is going on about him.
When we continually place our trust in Jesus we find peace. The world could be crashing down all around us but as we turn again and again to trust Jesus we can endure with patience, calmness, and non-anxiousness. To be non-anxious, calm, and patient is to stand out in a world where so many are quick to speak loudly and rush to riot or take other hasty action. To stand in our truth, trusting in Jesus, guarded in prayer, and bathed in Holy Spirit peace is to be a witness in our world. Our long suffering in relationship with others, in the face of trials, and in the midst of world calamities is a gift to the world and makes us excellent representatives of Jesus. If ever there was a man who displayed love for the world through being eternally long suffering, it was our Lord, Jesus.