12 May The Blessings of Sufferings
When the fire falls into our bosom we tend to question, “Why me?” Suffering and sorrow are endemic to mankind, since the fall. For a Christian it is essential he passes through the mill, to be conformed to the image of God’s Son. We pass through hard times as God desires many a thing for us that;
the Son of God may be glorified in us
we may share His holiness
may be polished to radiate His glory
the sovereignty of God may be made plain to the seen and the unseen world.
Whatever be it, “God works all things together for good, for those who love Him.” The Reality The death of a child, the breakdown of relationships, being orphaned, stark loneliness with none to comfort, divorce, disappointment, depression, poverty, privation, prolonged illness – the list goes on! We suffer pain. Distress to varying degrees.
Job grappled with many questions. And he came to realize God’s just ways, and His care and concern for him. He affirmed confidently, “My Redeemer lives.” Job also acknowledged that God was sovereign, in control of the universe, the ages of history. He recognized that it was best to make God, the Lord of his puny life too! The question now to us, is a choice. Will we go through the inevitable pain with Him or on our own?
When we are ready to go through pain and suffering, and that with Him, we learn dependence. And dependence follows up with submission – repentance, obedience “therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” Job 42: 6 We experience His sufficiency, His faithfulness and love. We are engulfed in His abounding grace. His power and wisdom become real. Also then comes the willingness to follow Him, take His direction. We mature. If He is whom we profess to Him to be, ‘Our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ’, do we with Paul also say, “that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering?”
Phil. 3:10 To know Him is to be with Him, to get into His shoes! Know Him through suffering akin to His. He allows us but a teeny weeny taste of it!
We can handle the searing pain and even our very selves, aright, only through ‘the power that raised Jesus from the dead’. His power to live in the newness of life produces Christian character. The fruit of the Spirit grows well on the soil of suffering. Deep
distress met in the power of God bears sweet fruit.
For instance could we ever rejoice when in the middle of hard times? Only by rejoicing in the Lord himself.
“in His presence if fullness of joy” – Ps 16:11 We learn to stay in His precious presence. It is not what He provides or how he protects, that matters. But to rejoice in Him, the Giver. Habakkuk experienced the goodness of the presence of God. Though everything was lost, he could say
“yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will joy in the God of my salvation” – Hab. 3:18
Lack, suffering, pain all draw us closer into His presence. Joy follows as we learn to be still and know that He is God. Blessing Others
When we trust Him with our sorrow and pain we make God real to those around. The Lord was with Joseph. And Potiphar ‘saw that the Lord was with Him’ “the keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. – Gen. 39:23
Joseph’s proximity to God was obvious in his attitudes and actions. He trusted Him and followed Him closely. Transformation in us catapults change in others! We walk through the valley with ‘the God of all comfort’. This develops is us compassion and understanding towards others. We’ve been ‘trained’ by Him to give comfort. ‘I’ve been there, I understand, I hurt with you’.
The embrace of warmth and love. Further finger pointing stops. Being judgmental becomes foreign. Humble dependence on God takes tangible forms. The disciples were out in the storm. Their expertise as sailors, did not hold water. They were terribly shaken.
Pride is stripped away and they surrender. Acknowledging our powerlessness, we learn to trust Him. In life or death situations we become a practical lesson on confi dence in the Lord. Quoting Oswald Chambers, ‘Sorrow burns up a great amount of shallowness’It strips away the distractions of life, helping to develop an eternal perspective. Heaven becomes more real and this helps us loosen our grasp on life. We learn to make the distinction between the temporal and the permanent. Itbrings about a one-day-at-a-time attitude.
Secure in His love?
He, ‘the Father of mercies, the God of all comfort’ is mine and I am His! Loved with everlasting love! And “underneath are the everlasting arms” Deut 33:27 The fire in my bosom, draws me closer into His!
About the Author
The author is a home maker residing with her husband Dr C. Jebaraj in Chennai.