Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Don't you just love that title? :) Ok, hang in here with me!

I was doing my Bible Study Homework (A Woman's Heart God's dwelling place) and on page 211 it asked this question:

What does it mean to you that Jesus hand the power to escape His cicumstances but chose to endure suffereing for our sake?

I thought "amazing love. Why does he love us so?"

Then went on to write some thoughts on this in my margin, then further in an email to my mom and I just want to share them here...because they keep grabbing me.

We look at our own "suffering" and are challenged to be able to reconcile God allowing it (maybe even handpicking it) with how much he loves us. It appears to us as counter-evidence of His love. If he loved us, why let us suffer?

What we don't get is what is really at stake! What it is that our "suffering" is making happen or bringing about in our lives and in those around us.

First, what it is bringing about in our experience in the future heaven which we comprehend so little of. If we could see it with Jesus' eyes we might be saying "Bring it on! More! More!", rather than "Take it away! Make it easy and pleasant."

Second, the work our suffering accomplishes here and now in us. In me it can lead to my fellowship with God deepened. It can impact those around us. It can quip me for something ahead I don't see. Maybe even stripping me of something, I did not realized needed stripped, so it will not drag me down later when I can't afford it.

Third, is what is at stake in the future earth. In the generation on my heels. My children. That my suffering sows something into their lives that is going to be the life/heart changer leading to their lives being lived out for God. Maybe even their very salvation.

So none of this "at stake" do we usually see at the time, but in faith, believing God and His word, we know that the suffering is purposefully dripping with his love and greater understanding. With trust in Him and with that whats-at-stake perspective, we can then truly "count it all joy."

Let's say God knew my devotion to Him would so greatly impact my children that if it was an ounce less than it is today, it would not be noticed by them and impact them. Let's say He knows how easily my heart is prone to wander. Knowing that He chose that I would live my life single from here on out. No earthly "Boaz" to come and rescue or distract.

In the past when I prayed for a "Boaz" or pursued such a "Boaz" on my own, God could say: "I could give this to you, dear child, but you will lose Tadpole's soul because of your distraction. Or it will turn Nick from a life of ministry to personal pleasure pursuits. Do you still want it?"

"No! No! A 1000 times, No!"

So we do not know in what way point A (our suffering) impacts point B. But God does.

In His great love for us and for those we love, He allowed, even planned for, His son to suffer. What was at stake was great enough, important enough, eternal enough, to allow this temporary suffering. And now, He allows us to join in "the fellowship of that suffering."

If we could but see the three-fold impact (future heaven, equipping now, and future earth), our joy would be a "skipping joy".

So we trust. Our suffereing does have this impact. Because we pray, we surrender, we say in unison with Jesus: "If it be, let this cup pass, but if not, then your will be done!

And we can rest that the suffering is only just to the amount he needs it to be. Not an ounce more. Coming to us through the fingers of our Father's love, we can say: "OK. Give me grace, give me wisdom. Show me what you want me to do if anything."

Then i thought about a very specific situation. And I ask:

What if this very circumstance, which i know is a suffering for someone else, and perceived as a suffering for me), is the very thing God intends to deepen and secure His spiritual work in my children? A life-changing, heart-changing, lifetime-remembered impact? A lifestyle, life choice, so counter to the Babylonian philosophies that surround us, that even seeps into us, that is stands our boldy in their minds, heart, soul, spirit? What if that is what is at stake?

What would we say then?

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