Suffering—boy, we sure hate that word and all it portrays. Then God comes along and has the audacity to say we should be long-suffering. Well, to be honest, He said longsuffering is a fruit of the Spirit—meaning it is an ability that comes from Him IF you let Him into your heart. Your heart, pal, let Him into your heart, not your religious head or concepts, but into your innermost being.
In this world of financial strain, relational difficulties and declining moral excellence, we have ample opportunity to practice “longsuffering”! Whether self-inflicted or as the result of someone else’s poor life choices, or as the innocent victim of accident or disease, we are all, at one time or another, going to have the opportunity to suffer. We can suffer alone with our puny, inefficient nature or we shall face and endure the suffering with the superior ability of the fruit of God’s Spirit within us.
“But, hey, whoa”, you say, “Let’s just skip the suffering part!” In your fantasy world, that is possible but in our real world we have to endure. This is a touchy area for some, especially the atheist, who, even though professing that there is no God, often has portrayed that very God as mean, cruel and obviously powerless to stop suffering. Get a revelation here—with or without God in your life…suffering will occur—it’s what you do with it and in it. You are either influenced by being with God in the challenging times or you are without Him.
When in the midst of terrible suffering, and when we feel God is far off, He so often uses the “flesh” portion of the Body of Christ…YOU! God expresses His love, comfort and power through the open vessel who understands that suffering is here to stay on this “broken” side of heaven. And God is here to stay, to help you through it. So when God seems to have disappeared, don’t be fooled. He has lined up His servants to help you voice the prayers that may get stuck in your own throat and/or to help you with the physical and emotional tasks that are impossible to achieve without assistance.
Even though no one has the superb, one-size-fits-all response to suffering, and even though all of us have different needs in suffering, one thing is sure…the balm to it all is the presence of God in His people. The wounded and suffering need God’s kind of love pouring out from you—they don’t need your epithets of wisdom and know how…they just need your love. God uses us ordinary people in extraordinary ways…let Him work through you, too. Endure the fire...it's producing pure gold!