Peter tells us to add patience, which is endurance, to our faith. This is an attribute of the Holy Spirit, a part of God’s “divine nature.” Patience/endurance is part of God’s nature, but questions arise. So, what has He endured? What sufferings did He endure? What is it about His divine nature that is patient and enduring?
We all have a good idea of what the Son of God endured. We know painfully of His physical and mental torture on the cross. But it is the spiritual sufferings He endured that were the worst. Nothing is worse than to be betrayed by those you love. The betrayal and conspiracy against Him brought much grief and pain, enduring sinners against Himself. “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not” (John 1: 10).
But God’s sufferings go back beyond the Son’s time of anguish. If we go back to the beginning, we begin to see that the Father Himself endured with much longsuffering the forces of the very adversary that He positioned as such. God created and, yes, commissioned the devil to be the “accuser of the brethren.” That was Satan’s job–to create havoc, doubt, and despair–as God ordained it.
Now some will hold me to task on this point. So I will point us to the book of Job, the first chapter. The sons of God are assembled in a meeting, and Satan appears with them. God asked him what he had been doing. Satan responded that he was just doing his job, going about his business, going to and fro in the earth. And what business was that? God tells us in His next breath. “Have you considered my servant Job?” Then Satan tells God that You won’t let me touch Him because You have blessed him and have protected him. Then God gives Satan permission to bring on much persecution and sufferings onto Job (1: 6-12).
Inexplicable as it seems to our little finite minds, God has Satan creating sufferings for His righteous children! God says, “I change not” and that He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
So we can deduce that God has ordained a certain amount of sufferings, tribulations, trials, and temptations for each of us [Boy, that was difficult to write down, but I told God that I would publish what He gives me from His word].
So God ordains sufferings, “for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12: 6). There it is by two witnesses; there are many more. But He is enduring those very sufferings that come down on us. Remember our parents about to use the rod of correction on us saying, This hurts me more than it hurts you.
But God ordained and ordered His own sufferings to be endured down through the ages. If we understand this about our Creator, we get into His mind a little more deeply, moving us closer to comprehending why we must suffer and why we must endure trials and tribulations–the very sufferings which bring about the adding of patience/endurance, which is a crucial part of God’s divine nature.
Betrayal–The Suffering Most Dreaded
If a person is called and chosen by God to be His son or daughter, they will suffer a crippling betrayal at the hands of someone they love or trusted. Betrayal is the thing we most fear in human relationships. It is a heartbreaking, senseless infliction of utmost spiritual pain that the natural thinking human being finds absolutely no use for. Some never fully get over it. Some are hampered from ever giving their heart to someone’s trust again. But some go through the fiery trial stronger and purer. Their hearts are the right stuff as God deals with them to pardon and forgive, thus molding them into His image, the image of selfless love.
God Himself went through sufferings of unrequited love. He took as His wife a special chosen people Israel (12 tribes, true offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel). They betrayed Him, whoring after false gods, after He had lavished His goodness upon them.
God endured with much longsuffering these things. To be like Him, His spiritual sons and daughters must go through these sufferings, also. It is called “suffering for righteousness sake.”
We all must grow up into Him and leave the “little children of God” behavior behind. Little children are mostly alive for what they can receive from the Father. We must grow up; we must spiritually mature. If we are chosen by Him as one of His elect, we will mature as we endure the trials He has planned for us [I know; that’s a tough one]. May He bless you all with more of His presence–patience’s big payoff. Kenneth Wayne Hancock