Long Suffering Vs. Suffering Long
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law."1
A Daily Encounter reader rightfully shares how we can't always get well even though we want to. Healing can be a difficult thing to understand. Some people get healed. Others don't. Lazarus and Dorcas were raised from the dead, while John the Baptist lost his head and stayed dead.
It is still true, however, that if we want to be made well/whole, it needs to be more than a wish. In life, it's what we do, not what we say, that speaks the loudest of all. And it's what we do about what we say we want that makes the difference between a wish and a want.
Nevertheless, there are some burdens that we may need to learn to live with and manage, for we live in a broken and imperfect world. For these issues we need longsuffering, which can help us to grow in faith, patience, and every grace.
However, there are other problems in life that can be resolved. For example, some people are ill because they are harboring a long-standing grudge and refuse to forgive the one/s who hurt them. I know one man whose wife divorced him twenty years ago and who has long since remarried, but he is still clinging to the fantasy that she is going to come back to him. These instances are suffering long. In these there is no benefit to be gained whatsoever—only bitterness, unhappiness, and illness.
This is why the Serenity Prayer, though simple, is so profound. It is today's suggested prayer: "'God, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.' Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV).