Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Suffering

If you thought walking with Christ wouldn't involve suffering, someone may have led you astray.  The Bible never promises an easy life, in fact, when you walk with Jesus that's a sure sign your life will be anything but easy.  Nancy Leigh DeMoss says, "The message that was preached by the Lord Jesus Himself and by the apostles who followed Him was a call to take up the cross; it was a call to sign up for battle; it was a call to suffer."

But the beauty in this is the quality of life we live in spite of suffering.

Seventeenth-century author William Law says, "Receive every inward and outward trouble, every disappointment, pain, uneasiness, temptation, darkness, and desolation, with both thy hands, as a true opportunity and blessed occasion of dying to self, and entering into a fuller fellowship with thy self-denying, suffering Saviour."

Every time someone disappoints us, every time we get hurt (physically or emotionally), every time we are troubled or have anxiety over a situation, every time we are tempted to do wrong, every moment of darkness (no matter what the cause), every time we feel lonely and miserable we need to CLING to our Savior and claim this old hymn:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace

And then when you have nothing in your view except His beautiful face, thank Him for the opportunity to die to self, while asking Him for the strength to do so.  This is how we enter into a fuller relationship with Him...because that's what He did 2,000 years ago.  And if you believe He has the ability to empower you to do what seems like the impossible, He will.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss also says, "All the New Testament authors recognized that there is a redemptive, sanctifying fruit that cannot be produced in our lives apart from suffering." (Emphasis mine) How hard that is to accept, and how beautiful!  He makes it worth it when we focus on Him.

1 comment:

  1. This is really powerful, baby. Good subject! It reminds me of what James said:

    "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." - James 1:2-4

    At first I thought he meant persecution, but now I understand that it means everything that we ask God to take away from us but then He doesn't and we're left wondering why. Or maybe He does save us from it eventually and we're left wondering why it took Him so long. Or we wonder why He let something happen to us at all when He could have prevented it with just a word. But we just have to learn to accept the fact that God cares very little for our comfort but cares a great deal about our growth. And growth means growing pains unless we're willing to learn from others' experiences. But James says enduring the suffering is making us mature... AND it produces testimony that helps us relate to others so maybe THEY can grow without repeating those same pains.

    But most of all suffering lets us relate to Jesus. After we go through a period of suffering we have a better understanding of what He went through to reclaim us from sin. When we are betrayed and somehow find a way to love the ones who betrayed us, we have a better understanding of what Jesus goes through when we turn our backs on Him and sin anyway, and then He loves us anyway. There's an intimacy with Jesus that can only be found through suffering. God knows it, and He knows the gain is worth the price. Suffering is temporary. The intimacy is eternal.

    "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

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