Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Why Our Suffering Means So Much to God


EMOTIONAL weakness, physical paucity, mental illness, and the like — weaknesses of the human condition in sum — connect us to God. Without these we could have no real, veritable relationship with this Lord who suffered. Jesus Christ is the pattern for life in that he bore in and through and over his own body the sufferings of a brutal reality, which is life, from within which the brutal reality of his death was suffered.
Christ and his Father know full well of the trials and struggles that we endure; those that are both common to life, yet unique to us as individuals who do feel singled out.
Can we read the following little sonnet as a word that is perhaps from God?
You, who endure your pain,
Like being caught in the rain,
Or being found helpless in the drain,
Who feels like you’re going insane,
Enduring despite a sense of despair,
You, I admire,
By My strength you inspire,
When your life feels it’s dire,
I know you’re a trier,
In weakness you still choose to dare.
God is so very proud of you for your suffering forbearance. He who chose his Son to show us how to deal with reality — to be still and know that God covers us in the blessings of hope — even in, and very nearly because, of our travail — shows us, also, how to live by bearing reality.
The abundant life is the life of bearing reality with grace, knowing, accepting, even delighting, in our brokenness.
The abundant life flourishes with joy in the midst of much want.
The person who can suffer adroitly, who has complaint, but does not give up, and keeps going forward, is the person on whom God’s blessing rests.
I don’t think God expects us to suffer perfectly. He desires that we obey, yet he respects and forgives our stumbling. None of us is Jesus Christ incarnate, yet we do have his power through the Holy Spirit to bear our suffering to the point of faith and obedience. But we will complain. We will grumble and groan.
We can afford to imagine God encouraging our hearts, to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” more often, especially when we’re doing our best to suffer obediently.
God bless you for your striding forward in faith, in the midst of the troubles of your life. Be encouraged. You make God proud of you.
All the Lord ever requires us to do is to attempt to do his will.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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