No one truly desires to go through life’s challenges. Let’s really think about it. Do you know of a person in their right mind who would honestly want to experience hardships? I did not think so.
Despite this resistance, long-suffering is a fruit of the Spirit God wants us to obtain. When we are experiencing suffering, we often question how long do we have to suffer? Interestingly enough, long-suffering is always that.....long. This does not always have to be the case.
When Long-Suffering Is Prolonged
In fact, oftentimes, we have a role to play in the length of time we stay in suffering. Are you ready for this truth? Suffering usually occurs until we have learned the lessons it was meant to teach us, A.K.A, until the process is done.
I recall moments when I prayed fervently, asking God to take me out of certain situations because I was enduring them for a long time. What I did not realize at that time is that God was trying to prune me. He was trying to expose those areas in my life that were toxic so that I can change in those areas. While I was busy praying that God fixes the situation, He was actually fixing me.
At that time life felt chaotic. In my eyes, nothing made sense anymore and God was not trying to make the situation any better. It felt like he was trying to break me, but the breaking was to make me better.
Long-Suffering Is Painful
Long-suffering for me requires dying to the flesh. It is the process of starving your flesh by saying no to all the wrong things for the sake of doing the right thing. Still dying to the flesh is a painful process. That's why it's described as dying.
In the process of long-suffering, in order to come out with the lessons God desires for you to learn, you must die to those desires in you that are not like God. Yes, your flesh loves the thing you must die to, but in order for your spirit to thrive, you must deny your flesh in the process of long-suffering. Torturing yourself every day for the sake of inward change is painful, but the rewards on the other side are worth it.
“For when you live controlled by the flesh, you are about to die. But if the life of the Spirit puts to death the corrupt ways of the flesh, we then taste his abundant life.”
Romans 8:13 TPT
The Rewards Of Long-Suffering
One of the greatest rewards of long-suffering is it builds endurance. Long-suffering is usually meant to build a particular area in our lives that needs changing or enhancing. These challenges usually come through life’s circumstances or people. It tests our faith and patience to build endurance.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”
Romans 5:3-4 NLT
Endurance then strengthens our faith. The beauty of endurance is that through a constant process it’ll lead you face to face with hope and hope in God is what pleases him. Endurance disallows anything from separating you from the knowledge of God because you would have already tarried with him and see that He kept you in the midst of difficult times. The end of longsuffering leads us back to faith, but not just any kind of faith, a faith that has a story to convince the faithless.
In the end, this process genuinely made me thank God, not so much because of the trials but because I was able to help someone else after. I think everyone needs someone who has walked through something before and it offers a sense of comfort to let them know that they will not die in their process.
While you or I may not necessarily like the process, I can still say earnestly say,
Thank you God, I got through it, now what’s next?
What new thing do you desire to do in me to allow me to testify about who you are?
What new venture do you desire for me to experience as I walk through the challenges you have set before me?
What new way would you like me to tell the world that you’ve revealed yourself to me with?
At this point, I think God wants us to get to the point where we can appreciate the struggle and move on to the next lesson. I challenge you to let your heart’s disposition say “Thank U, Next!”