One of the things I have learned through a decade and a half of youth-related ministry is that pursuing people for the sake of the cross can feel lonely, defeating and tiring. This quote was a good reminder to me of why we persevere.
I was challenged to use this same patience with all the hurting people in my life. Real love doesn't bail out just because things have gotten messy.
"The first thing Paul says about love is that it is patient: 'Love is patient.' (I Corinthians 13:4) The dictionary definition of patience is: 'The suffering of afflictions, pain, toil, calamity, provocation or other evil, with a calm unruffled temper; endurance without murmuring or fretfulness.' The root of patience is pati (to suffer). The first emphasis, then, is that love can suffer, can take it.
Since love is outgoing, and since by its very nature it insinuates itself into the sins and suffering of loved ones, its very first capacity must be to be patient, to have a capacity to take suffering and sorrow patiently.
The very first step takes us to the cross at once, where, in a supreme way, Love showed its capacity to take on Itself everything that would fall upon the loved one."
-E. Stanley Jones