When we talk about suffering and longsuffering, we must remember that we are not alone in our experience. Far from it. Jesus Himself is a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). We serve a longsuffering God: “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth” (Psalm 86:15).
We serve a God who is longsuffering toward us, and He is the source of all patience and longsuffering for us. So we look to Him for the supply. Colossians 1: 11 tells us that God strengthens us (“according to His glorious power”) for “all patience and longsuffering with joy.” This means that God doesn’t just give us the ability to endure and persevere in trials, but He gives us joy in it.
Suffering for a long time with joy is humanly impossible. But we must go back to see Who enables us for such a thing. It is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who “has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (vs. 13). He is the God of all patience and comfort (Rom. 15:5). He overflows with abundant mercy and truth.
I have a friend who has suffered a hard providence, and she told me that she would not change one thing. She has no quarrel with God. That is a faithful response, and that is the demeanor that finds joy and hope in longsuffering, and all to the glory of God.