Long-suffering Grace By Woodrow Kroll
At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. The king spoke, saying, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?" While the word was still in the king's mouth, a voice fell from heaven: "King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you!"
Someone once said, "To become long-suffering, one has to be long-bothered." This was certainly true of God's relationship with King Nebuchadnezzar.
Even after the king had been warned in a night vision about his pride, he apparently failed to change his ways. In spite of knowing what was going to befall him, Nebuchadnezzar continued to indulge his arrogant spirit. In his conceit, he refused to acknowledge that all he had accomplished was by the expressed aid of the Lord. Yet God, with long-suffering grace, allowed him 12 more months before bringing down judgment on him.
God does not sit in heaven and glee-fully look for opportunities to bring about affliction. His desire is for all men to come to repentance. Peter wrote, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9). Accordingly, He both warns and waits, seeking to bring about change through the conviction of His Spirit rather than the heavy hand of judgment. Only as a last resort does He apply the consequences of sin to those who commit it.
Christians also should be willing to show grace over an extended period of time. Rather than quickly doling out condemnation, we ought to offer ample opportunity for grace. While judgment ultimately must be meted out, give plenty of time for a change of heart.
If you are dealing with a rebel in your life, do so with long-suffering grace. Make sure that you show others the kind of grace that God has demonstrated to you. That's the way to be like God.
Grace shines brightest when it suffers longest.