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Simpler Life Brings Contentment

Karl Byman | The Voice of Zion June/July 2023 - Home and Family Article --

Longsuffering is a word used in several places in the Bible. It is said to be a combination of the Greek words for “long” and “temper,” meaning to be slow to anger, to endure anger with restraint, or to forbear ourselves and others.

It is difficult to see longsuffering in myself, as I seem to be the polar opposite of patient, giving others the benefit of the doubt, or putting the best construction on what others do. When I have had trials in my life that seemed unending, I have prayed for acceptance and patience, and often reminded myself of this verse, “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Heb. 13:14). It has helped me remember that everything in this life is temporary, including suffering, and that has allowed me to be somewhat more patient and accepting.

My parents both lived through the Great Depression. My mother was very young then. Her father was a preacher and they never had an excess of material goods throughout her childhood. My father left school after eighth grade graduation to work and help support his family. They both also endured long-term health trials. I believe that their experiences with a simple childhood in believing homes not only made them appreciative of the smaller joys in life, but it also contributed to their contentedness and taught them to be longsuffering and patient.

I have often thought that as believers we should strive to be satisfied with less than those in the world around us. By this I mean that we should not feel entitled to the constant entertainment, leisure time, pleasure, and instant gratification sought by so many in the world. But rather we can be content with a simpler lifestyle centered around faith and family. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).

Patience in Trials

Ruthanne Byman | The Voice of Zion June/July 2023 - Home and Family Article --

Learning patience from trials can be difficult during hard times. Life gives us much joy, but none of us go through this life without trials. It is good to remain close with our escorts in faith; they help support us in the hard times. Believing is easier when we love one another, even with our different personalities.

Sometimes when God gives us trials we feel closer to Him. Other times we become fearful. We need His guidance and sometimes it is hard to trust when we are given a trial that seems too hard to bear. It is good to be open and share your concerns with another believer as you are able. It is comforting to have the prayers of other believers during difficult times. We can be patient in the face of trials when we know we are not bearing them alone.

I have believing friends that I have turned to for comfort or advice throughout the years. It would be hard to imagine getting through life without them!

Children also need escorts. We parents see to their needs when they are young, but as they get older it is good for them to make friends. We can help nurture friendship by visiting other families, allowing our children to have believing friends over and attending camps. These friends can be lifelong escorts, and escorts can help one another withstand what life brings.

Accepting What Life Brings

Tarja Brown | The Voice of Zion June/July 2023 - Home and Family Article --

Longsuffering is patience, steadfastness, perseverance and endurance. As I ponder longsuffering, I think back on the experiences and trials I have had on life’s journey.

Over 40 years ago, while living in Germany with my husband Joe, who was serving with the United States military, I experienced one such trial. While in Germany, our second daughter was born. At the age of two months and ten days, she stopped breathing during the night. I ran to the neighbors who called for an ambulance. While they were working on saving my little child’s life, I sat on a stump outside of the ambulance and prayed to God: God, please save my little one, but if it is not your will I will accept this.

Alas, my little one passed away. We were transported to the army hospital where I was questioned on what had happened while they sent for Joe, who was guarding the Czechoslovakian border. Through my tears, I heard them ask if I wanted the Army chaplain. I said no. I continued to weep quietly. Soon an Army chaplain sat down next to me and said, “You know this is not your fault?” I said I know. He said, “You know there was nothing you could have done to prevent this?” I said I know. He finally looked at me and said, “You do?” In that moment, I knew that God was giving me strength and acceptance. I could feel His gentle presence.

Part of longsuffering is to accept one another for who we are. We forbear one another in love. When the children were little, there were often teachable moments that occurred in everyday life. I remember one occasion when my oldest daughter was having all the girls her age over. She came to me, troubled that the girls wanted to exclude one of the girls and had asked her not to invite this girl. I told her that would not be right. I asked, “How would you feel if you were the one being excluded?” She agreed this would not make her feel good.

All the girls were invited and everything went well. It is good that we preserve the love of one child of God for another child of God, putting aside differences between us. “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).

Longsuffering is linked to contentment and thankfulness. When trials beset us it is comforting to remember to be content with whatever our lot in life is. Contentment is a state of happiness and satisfaction. To me it also means acceptance.

As believers we experience trials and many moments of joy. After each trial we realize how important that trial has been to help us grow closer to God and more steadfast in our faith. We can be thankful that through God’s grace and mercy He has preserved us as His own. We are happy when we can experience the joy of believing.

Patience Is Needed on the Road to Recovery

George and Gloria Niemela | The Voice of Zion June/July 2023 - Home and Family Article --

I…beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love. – Ephesians 4:1,2

In some situations, the only option is to be patient. Longsuffering and patience are something we pray for. When we can place our burden in God’s care, we find that the burden can be lightened. We must try over and over to accept that in some situations there is nothing we can do.

One such situation for us involved our son and his road to recovery from addiction issues. Recovery involves the afflicted one, and the painful process touches whoever is emotionally attached to that individual.

In this case, those involved included our daughter-in-law and her family, our family, grandchildren and friends. All these people have had moments of involvement. All have needed patience and longsuffering at some point. Often the gospel was sought and shared within this support group.

Our role evolved as our son’s dear wife made us aware of his behaviors. We watched and listened from a distance, not really knowing what we could or should do to help. We stepped in to help with issues of personal property and legalities. Questions were asked from both sides of the family: Should we do this? Should we do that? We are thankful God granted us the strength and willingness to do what we could. We were able to contribute in practical ways.

We wanted nothing more than that our son could recover. George let him know we were willing to do what we could to help him in his recovery. Eventually he reached out to us for help. We took him into our home. Others offered work for him to do.

But there were relapses, time spent in treatment centers and then back home again. There was lots of communication between family and friends while on this path. This was quite trying at times.

While some family members at times couldn’t get on board, we are thankful they respected our decisions and supported us. We felt the love and support of those around us, even though we didn’t always agree on things.

We and our son acknowledged that God has a plan. Our son wanted to believe. When he relapsed, he would get so discouraged, but he still wanted to hear the forgiveness of all his sins in Jesus’ name and blood. We needed that assurance too for our own discouragement. He prayed. We prayed too, and I know many others remembered us in prayer as well. In those times we were able to get to know our adult son from the heart, and to us that was a gift and a blessing that came from him staying with us.

There came a time when we agreed we cannot do this anymore. But yet we tried one more time. God blessed our situation, and we are thankful parents today. Our son’s recovery truly has been a miracle.

This family needs continued love and support as the journey of recovery continues. We pray for longsuffering and patience for them going forward. We ask that this dear family be remembered in your prayers.

In situations such as the one we have lived through, there are many questions. We have no answers. We can only be thankful to God for recovery. Everyone’s situation has different elements that go into the care for their loved one. Together we face trials that come, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer” (Rom. 12:12). We have learned firsthand the deep meaning in these words: “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” (Rom. 12:15).

Discussion Questions

  1. How does your personal faith help you endure hardships and maintain patience during difficult times?

  2. How does suffering – and the need for patience and perseverance – influence our relationship with our Creator?

  3. The book of Job relates of how Job suffered many afflictions and trial during his life. What do you recall of these trials? Describe how Job responded.

  4. Isaiah 40:31 says that “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles.” In what ways is this message relevant today, amid the issues we face in today’s society?

  5. How can we support and encourage one another to wait on the Lord and persevere in faith, even when the road ahead appears difficult?

2023_06_Pub_JunJulVZ_HF_Simpler Life Brings Contentment
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