My devotional book has taken me on a journey with the recent entries emphasizing suffering. Suffering is a subject we like to avoid. But as Christ-followers, living in a broken world, it is inevitable. The question is, what will we do with our suffering? How will we handle it?
The Apostle Paul wrote under the influence of the Holy Spirit of God:
“For this our light and transitory burden of suffering is achieving for us a weight of glory.”2 Corinthians 4:17, WEYMOUTH
My devotional points to the word “achieving” as to how we view our suffering:
“The answer is to be found in the word “achieving;” these things are achieving for us something precious. They are teaching us not only the way to victory, but better still the laws of victory. There is a compensation in every sorrow, and the sorrow is working out the compensation.”Streams in the Desert
The Apostle certainly could vouch for suffering having a recompense consequence in each of our lives. He also wrote:
“If I am in distress, it is in the interests of your comfort, which is effective as it nerves you to endure the same sufferings as I suffered myself. Hence my hope for you is well-founded, since I know that as you share the sufferings you share the comfort also.”2 Corinthians 1:6-7
My devotional again brings a perspective to pain:
“Are there not some in your circle to whom you naturally betake yourself in times of trial and sorrow? They . . . give the very counsel you are longing for; you do not realize, however, the cost which they had to pay ere they became so skillful in binding up the gaping wounds and drying tears. . . So suffering is rough and hard to bear; but it hides beneath it discipline, education, possibilities, which not only leave us nobler, but perfect us to help others. Do not fret, or set your teeth, or wait doggedly for the suffering to pass, but get out of it all you can, both for yourself and for your service to your generation, according to the will of God.”Streams
Yesterday, we had the pleasure of spending a few precious moments with some dear friends as we waited for the Hospice nurse to arrive. We met Ann and Glen in 2012. Glen was teaching Sunday School at the church we were attending. He was enduring twenty-plus years of Parkinson’s without complaint. At that time, he could walk and talk without too much difficulty. He was given a wonderful caregiver in Ann, his dear wife. They never had children but are blessed with a caring community of church people, firemen, and neighbors, as well as Ann’s only sibling and her family. However, a short while after becoming friends with them, Ann was diagnosed with lung cancer. God has allowed her to experience some incredibly tough days but all the while showing her, He IS in control. After all the initial chemo and radiation, her cancer has been managed by taking a chemo pill. Through all of these years the Lord has been so faithful; And we praise Him for that! Glen turns 70 years old the day after Christmas! Yet, our visit yesterday was bittersweet as Glen is now bedridden and can barely speak and Ann had just received the news that her cancer is active and has spread to her liver. The chemo pill is no longer doing the job. Being welcomed into their home you would never know how dismal a prospect each face. With God’s good grace they share a smile that makes you think heaven has come down to earth. (And of course, we know it did some 2,000 plus years ago in a manger bed).
Once again, my devotional provides perspective:
“There never has been known great saintliness of soul which did not pass-through great suffering. When the suffering soul reaches a calm sweet carelessness, when it can inwardly smile at its own suffering, and does not even ask God to deliver it from the suffering, . . . it is in this state of perfection of suffering that the Holy Spirit works many marvelous things in our souls. The imagination stops building air castles or running off on foolish lines; the reason is tame and gentle; the choices are annihilated; it has no choice in anything but the purpose of God. The affections are weaned from all creatures and all things; it is so dead that nothing can hurt it, nothing can offend it, nothing can hinder it, nothing can get in its way; for let the circumstances be what they may, it seeks only for God and His will, and it feels assured that God is making everything in the universe, good or bad, past or present, work together for its good. Oh, the blessedness of being absolutely conquered! Of losing our own strength, and wisdom, and plans, and desires, and being where every atom of our nature is like placid Galilee under the omnipotent feet of our Jesus.”Streams
The great thing is to suffer without being discouraged. –Fenelon
What suffering has you hyperventilating instead of trusting our Savior?
All four of us celebrating Rodney & Ann’s birthdays in 2016!
[You can read more on these two saints in “When the Bottom Drops Out” and “Day Ten, (Special Friends)”]