Sunday, September 29, 2013

Partaking in the Suffering...

What follows is a reflection on my devotional time... I preface this post to say that I don't believe I have ever experienced TRUE SUFFERING in the context of which Peter wrote... prison, torture,  slavery, standing for right, or laying life down for Christ in the face of sever and menacing opposition. I am one of the privileged North Americans living in a free country and allowed to live according to my convictions. (Although, I truly believe these freedoms are temporary. Everyday these are being eroded away!!) Neither have I lost a close family member who was not old and ready for rest. We are a healthy family for the most part. I have not watched any of my children languish in debilitating agony, nor experienced marital discord, I have never had to go days without food, I've never had to live in a cave,.... In short, I feel blessed beyond measure and in that light anything I have to complain about is trivial. There are people who suffer ALL these things all over the globe on a daily basis.

Still, everyday we are faced with disappointments, annoying trials that are  real (or often imagined), weariness, or pain. We are tempted to be discouraged, to lose sight of the goal, to not be at peace in our hearts. Things happen that we don't like; dissension arises among friends, stuff breaks, money runs out, unexpected bills show up, people don't act like we want them to, accidents happen, we lose our keys, our feelings are hurt, children disobey.....  and some people's children actually almost never obey :-$!  Not much of it is life threatening, neither is it directly in opposition to our faith in Christ, BUT how we relate to it will most definitely reveal to us our relationship with Christ and increase, or destroy our faith.  Every small trial we face in Christ prepares us to face a greater one with strength and courage.

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, 
as though some strange thing happened unto you: 
but rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's suffering; 
that when His glory shall be revealed, 
ye may be glad with exceeding joy."
 1 Peter 4:12, 13

Partakers in Christ's suffering...

Could it actually be that as we bear bravely in Christ we are sharing in HIS suffering?

Most of us loath suffering. It is said of Peter who penned the words about sharing in Christ's suffering "that to Him it was a bitter lesson that he learned but slowly 
that the path of Christ on earth lay through agony and humiliation. 
The disciple shrank 
from fellowship with His Lord in suffering.


in the HEAT

of the furnace fire

he was to learn its blessing." 
Desire of Ages pg 416

His experience in suffering ultimately led him to tell us that we would be glad with exceeding joy for being allowed the privilege of suffering with Jesus.  I know that I have A LONG, LONG way to go in responding to my trials meekly without a thought of murmuring. . .  

And as one put it, at the end of my life, would I want to see Jesus who suffered so MUCH to purchase my pardon .... would I want to stand before Him having suffered nothing at all? No. Let me suffer with Jesus.

..... only, strengthen me, Lord,  for the roughness ahead for I am weak and shrinking. For someday I would choose to share in your glory in the life to come.


This took me hours to write and may not make total sense yet. It's more for me than anybody.  This written in the midst of the trial of trying to encourage a willing heart and obedient spirit in two unwilling souls who have no desire to  follow my direction or give in to my please that there is a happier way.  I think I know how God must feel. If only I could enlighten their minds!!! It would make their lives so much easier.... sweeter.


Mama in Uganda said...

Truth. I have written out on a notecard GOD WILL NOT BE A LIAR...until our said child understands this, there will never be true "sweetness" in her she stares at her school work...for the fourth day in a row, completely confused and her choice of death over Life.

Emily said...

After an extremely difficult day today, this was water to my parched soul. Thanks for sharing it.

~Melissa said...

Hmmm, my studies are leading me down this same road. My struggles are not yours, but they are struggles just the same. You have been on my mind this past week, please know that I am praying for you when you come to mind. I've read two books here recently and both have brought you to mind... mostly due to your friendship, your ability to encourage, and your ability to point me to scripture when I really need to hear it. ((Hugs to you, dear friend!))