One of God’s greatest attributes is that He is longsuffering. He announced this to Moses in Exodus 34 and then simply proved it over and over through Scripture and His activity in each of our lives. Longsuffering is much more than being willing to wait, John Reisinger writes, “Longsuffering is the ability to endure everything that is necessary to reach a desired goal.” This is exactly what God has been for man since before there was time. Longsuffering is a choice, it is a decision to not quit, to not give up, to not turn back but to endure until the promise, the purpose and the goal come to pass and become reality. When God formed us in His image He knew that we would sin and yet He did not change His mind. When Adam and Eve sinned God was prepared and announced His plan of salvation that would involve His own Son coming to bruise Satan’s head so that we might be brought back to the place of intimate relationship we were created for. As Peter wrote, “the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation”.
God never calls or asks any of us to be anything that He is not, but I believe, He does ask us to be everything that He is. His longsuffering toward us is a gift of love that brings forth salvation, but it is also a fruit of His Spirit that He desires to see grow in us. For those of us that struggle with patience, with endurance, with longsuffering; it is not because we are not able, it is simply because we have not yet fully embraced the seeds of the Holy Spirit’s fruit that have been placed within us. Galatians 5 tell us the fruit, or the results of the Holy Spirit dwelling richly within us. These seeds are all the character of God and we have access to that character, not merely that it would be given to us but that each of these attributes would come forth through us.
As God has been longsuffering toward us, it is our calling to be longsuffering toward Him and toward all those that surround our lives. It takes self control (another fruit of the Spirit), it takes trust, it takes love and probably most of all it takes a place of surrender to God’s love and leading. If you and I will choose to make Jesus the Shepherd of our lives, one of the paths that He will lead us on will be the path of longsuffering. Trust His leadership, receive His love and be willing to endure all that is necessary to reach His desired goal for your life. He will prove faithful, we must choose longsuffering.