07 Mar 2019

Growth In Longsuffering

Well here we are . . . we have reached the fruit of the Spirit that most of us would likely skip over if given the choice. Unfortunately, it is right there amid all the others, therefore there is no escaping it! What is long suffering really? Before giving you the dictionary’s definition, I can give you my personal antonym description – instantaneous gratification. Dictionary.com gives the description of long suffering as enduring injury, trouble, or provocation long and patiently. Nothing about that description makes you want to say sign me up, I can take it! Yet the fact still stands that at some point or another in our lifetime, we have to take it. Why? Because God does not always give us a choice in the matter. If He did, we would take full control of our lives.

My father always told us that we would never appreciate the sunshine if we did not have rain; and we would never appreciate all the good things in life, if we did not experience some bad things. Of course, when he would say that to me as a child it made no good sense to me! But I wholeheartedly understand those “Daddyisms”, and not only understand them, but live by them and pass them down to my children and grandchildren. Sometimes there are passages in the scripture that we conveniently pass over because either we do not understand them, or we choose not to. But when someone like my Daddy (who I hung on his every word) says it, somehow it sticks whether you want it to or not.

In life it is impossible to escape pain, be it physical or emotional, trouble, irritation and anger. And it is a proven fact that some of us handle those facts of life better than others. But whether you handle them well or miserably, there is no escaping them. We cannot just go through them, but we must accept them along with knowing that it is not for us to determine their duration. So why not accept long suffering as a fruit of the Spirit just like all the others and let God prune us, shape and mold us, and do anything else He needs to do to teach us how to get through those difficult times in life that we know will come. One of the things that I often do is attempt to look at others who are most assuredly going through greater challenges than I am. A person who has lost several members of their family is an unusually close span of time and still smiles in the midst of their grief; a person going through cancer but is encouraging the doctors and nurses all throughout their treatment and discomfort; and someone who is jobless and homeless but when offered things they do not really need at the time refuses them and offers them to others who do not have. Yes, there is always someone less fortunate than you and if you look around you will see.

We are often blinded by our own circumstances and act as if we are carrying the weight of the world. But wouldn’t that put us in the position of God who is the only one that is truly carrying the weight of the world and has never once complained about it! So, if we follow His example and the manual for life found in His Word, He will surely give us the grace to be better “long sufferers” when we suffer affliction. The beautiful part of that is we can testify to that fact with two familiar gospel songs “Trouble Don’t Last Always” and “There’s A Brighter Day Ahead”. Another “ism” that I tap into when I am faced with undesirable situations is, I say to myself “if He’s done it before, He will do it again”. That simply means if He has brought me through hard times, sad times, frustrating and even angry times, He CAN and WILL most certainly do it again. Long suffering is a tall order, but the fruit that we bear from it will beautifully reflect the light of God’s love and the growth of your relationship with Him greater than you can possibly imagine!

Let’s keep growing . . .

Source: First Lady Denise