I was in a youth meet on Zoom (where else?) and the discussion was around the fruits of the Spirit. Please click here for the full list of what these fruits are.
The one that caught my attention was patience and longsuffering. I hear people use patience and long-suffering as meaning the same thing so I felt the need to ask what the difference was…
The lady who gave me the answer that stuck said, “longsuffering is elastic patience”. Elastic Patience.
Elastic is flexible; accommodating; adaptable; tolerant. Patience is quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence. It is the ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay. Longsuffering is a combination of both. It is not a joke.
The realest example of longsuffering in the Bible is found in the book of Job. You can read his story here. Job is one of the first points of reference that remind Christians about what it is to suffer despite being a beloved child of God. Job was described as “blameless“, ” a man of integrity“. He was described as one who “feared God” and “stayed away from evil” so that would mean, he should not suffer right?! Wrong.
Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 NLT
No matter how holy you are, how loved or how righteous, if you are Christian and patience is a fruit of the Spirit, then some suffering is to be expected to help you develop this fruit. If you have suffered little, I am happy for you. If you have suffered much, I am here to encourage you. At the end of all the suffering, you will need nothing… See the verse below.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
James 1:2-4 NLT
Are you suffering currently? Well, be encouraged. There is good work being done in your life. As Jesus Himself said, “be of good courage” / “take heart“. It is all a part of long-suffering – elastic patience. You will be better by the end of it all.
See this verse also…
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. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Romans 5:3-5 NLT
We need the Holy Spirit to help us through so that at the end, it will all be worth it. This is one sure way on how to grow and be who God has called you to be.
I know that sometimes, it all feels unfair but it is not for nothing. God can use anything for His glory…and as Christians, is that not the purpose of our lives? To give God glory?
Will you pray with me?
Heavenly Father, I thank You for all that is happening in my life right now. I am tired and do not fully understand but I trust in and believe You when You say that You cause all things to work together for my good in Romans 8:28 . I ask You, Holy Spirit to help me through this time so that I can develop good fruit(s). Help me keep my eyes on You at all times. Help me have elastic patience for this journey so that I can come out of this, better and stronger in faith and my life journey. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.
It is well with you.
Love and Blessings!