From a lecture by Gordon Fee, recounting the morning that he sat in his study to work on 1 Corinthians 13:4 for his commentary:
I remember the morning when I came to this passage: “Love is patient, love is kind.”
It’s actually a verb: “Love does patience.” Or better yet, the KJV: “love suffers long.”
Patience is what you show when your computer doesn’t work.
Long-suffering is what you show when people don’t work, and you’ve been around them a long, long time. That’s what it means to suffer long.
And I looked at those words and then realized that Paul was here describing God’s character. Those are exactly the words he uses of God back in Romans 2 [v. 4].
Then it dawned on me:
the first (long-suffering) is the passive side of His love;
the other (kindness) is the active side of His love.
And then I started to cry for a long time. It took me a long time to return to my computer. What if God was not like this toward us?
HT: Tony Reinke, via David Sunday