I’ve never been very patient. My father used to say he prayed for patience. He said he prayed, “Lord, give me patience and give it to me right now!”
I’ve never been very good at suffering. I also relate to another of my father’s “tongue in cheek” expressions on suffering. He said, “I don’t mind suffering in silence, if everyone knows I’m suffering.”
I was a bit concerned when I read the list of things Paul described as The Fruit of The Spirit. It all sounded like delicious fruit except one.
“But The Fruit of The Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.”
What is that about suffering? And even worse, long suffering? I don’t even like short suffering!
Is there a purpose in suffering? Paul said,
“We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Suffering causes us to stop our usual activities. It frequently causes us to “be still.”
Suffering is an acute reminder that we are not completely in charge of our life. If we were, we would never had chosen suffering for ourselves.
Suffering tempts us to focus on ourselves and our miseries. Many of us indulge in heavy doses of self pity.
Suffering tempts us to seek knowledge many places other than from our Creator. It never ceases to amaze me how many sick people are using their last bit of energy to search the net for what their symptoms mean. (I know this because I have been one of them. 😳)
Suffering tempts us to doubt God’s Love for us. If He loved me, why is He letting this happen? Is He mad at me? Did I do something wrong? Is this punishment?
Suffering tempts us to doubt God’s Power. If satan is causing this, isn’t God Powerful enough to stop him? Is it possible God feels for us, but can’t reach us?
Suffering tempts us to seek solutions instead of seeking God’s Presence. We want to say, “Your Grace is sufficient.” But we are tempted to say, “Your Grace will be sufficient when You show it by relieving me of this suffering.”
Why long suffering? Often after being forced to be still, it takes awhile to know The Truth of “He is God.”
As more and more things fall away, we are, in reality, shedding our old skin. We gradually permit God to remove false ideas of Who He is and who we are.
He is All Powerful, able to defeat satan at every turn. He loves us completely and has The Plan for our lives. We can trust Him.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Dealing with suffering begins with being joyful! Will we be joyful about the suffering? Probably not. But we can be joyful about The Hope God gives us. We will get through it, and there will be a brighter day ahead, on earth and in heaven.
And then we come back to patience. Patience is crafted through waiting. Waiting on the cure? If God so ordains, yes. But in the meantime, we wait on The Lord to sustain us through every moment, teach us the lessons He wants to teach us, and show us, up close and personal, His Amazing Grace.
And we are faithful in prayer, entering into His Presence with thanksgiving and praise, never giving up on God, Who never gives up on us.
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
You need to persevere so that when you have done The Will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”