“But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.” Psalms 86:15
Is there a word that better describes it’s own meaning? Longsuffering means long-suffering. “Bearing injuries or provocation for a long time; patient; not easily provoked. Can you think of situations where you may suffer long?
Do you have children? Especially, teenagers? Do you have a commute? Customers? A spouse? While none of these in and of themselves are painful, each can initiate situations that try our patience or frustrate us.
The Bible talks about God, our Father, being longsuffering. Number 14:18 speaks of his longsuffering and great mercy. And how is it exhibited? By his forgiveness, and the fact that He, because of His longsuffering, because of the forgiveness we have through the blood of His son, Jesus, spares our 3rd and 4th generation of the guilt of our sins.
He restrains himself, giving everyone space and time to change, as told in 2 Peter 3.9. And that is what he expects of us, encouraging us to bear one another with love, for the sake of peace. Ephesians 4.2
Why not just say “patience”? Because it’s not enough to just wait out a circumstance; it would be human nature to bottle up the anxiety, frustration, anger or other negative feelings towards that person or situation. That is why the Bible speaks of the Fruit (Galatians 5.22)being a combination of patience+mercy. Not only are we setting aside our timetable, we are forgetting the situation and how it made us feel. Isn’t that a healthy way to live? Here are 3 more reasons for long-suffering:
1. It strengthens bonds through peace. (Ephesians 4.2)
2. It produces character. (Romans 5.3-4, Colossians 3.12)
3. It gives others a chance to change, leads to repentance. Colossians 3.12
I would be the first to say that it’s much easier to read and say we will be longsuffering than it is to actually be longsuffering. Well guess what? That’s where God’s on longsuffering comes in! He is there to help us, through the Holy Spirit, to exercise ALL the Fruits.
Father, we want to do your will. We aspire to be more patient and merciful to the individuals and situations we face on a daily basis. Please help us to show to others the same patience and mercy that keeps us in your loving arms each day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.