Psalms 86:15 says “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in mercy and truth.” I believe that God is long-suffering for humans. He has tried so many times to reach out to His people, first to Israel and then to the rest of the world. Sometimes, while reading through the Old Testament, I honestly find myself asking God, “Why did you help them so many times when they were continually in and out of sin?” Of course, this is how our lives can be if we aren’t walking with the Lord: in and out of sin. But God is abundant in mercy and truth, and is always willing to forgive us.
I believe that Psalms 86:15 was written the way it was for a purpose. I think this verse relates to the way that God is with people, and if we are longing to be anything like God, we need to be long-suffering. But this verse goes beyond that. It says that God is full of compassion, and gracious. After all, it was because God has compassion and is gracious and loving that He sent His Son to die on the cross for us. God has suffered a long time just so that people would want to know Him. When I think of long-suffering, I think of my job. I am a food server in a restaurant, and let me tell you, if you weren’t long-suffering before, you will be if you work one day as a food server. People are always asking for things, always needing help, always ready to get mean if they didn’t get exactly what they wanted. People order you around, always expecting you to follow their every command. But wait—isn’t that what we all do, how we all are? I don’t know about you, but I find myself in constant need of God’s strength in my life. I find myself needing His help in every situation. And, of course, I sometimes lash back at God when I feel as though He doesn’t answer my prayers. The beautiful thing about God is that He does answer prayers, even if it takes a bit longer than we’d like. For instance, I have prayed to be more patient with people, and He answers that prayer every day and gives me new strength every day to do just that. As hard as it may be, we have to pull through for God. Think of how many times He has pulled through for you.
Spend some time with God and pray for longsuffering to be sown into your life for other people. If God was and still is longsuffering for us, then we should be willing to do the same for other people. In doing so, we can show God’s love to others in our suffering for them, just as Jesus did for us on the cross, justas God does every day with all people.