17 February, 2014
Suffering! FROM RANSOMED HEARTS
I chose this Ransomed Heart piece called “SUFFERING” because I know this author knows God instead of knowing about God which is completely different.
I have read countless times on the internet how we do not have to suffer to be true Christians. Every time I hear someone say something like that, I cringe. Why? Because the God that I know taught me otherwise and because most Christians who truly know God intimately will tell you they have suffered immensely. The third reason is that we are not above Christ the Master.
Christ life was a challenge every single day. He never knew where His next meal was coming from, where He was going to sleep, and what next crisis He was going to have to deal with while on the road. He was insulted every day by the Pharisees, and He had to live everyday knowing that somewhere they were plotting about Him because they did not like what He had to say. He had to make Himself available constantly because everyone wanted a piece of Him. His own brothers and the town where He grew up did not believe in Him. Most people doubted that He knew what He was talking about.
Imagine that He had to live every single day with a constant reminder of His impending death through torture and humiliation? Christ also made it clear to us through His word that suffering is a big part of Christianity.
I have to admit that even myself, I am still learning through God what He truly means by “suffering.” He taught me a lot the past few days about why my suffering seems endless as He opened my mind to understand it better. As human beings, besides all the other kind of suffering we are to expect in order to get through life itself, we have a list of things that cause pain in the depth of the soul while God is working through us. As God taught me patience in the wilderness, I realized why it makes sense not too many people have the gift of patience that comes from the Holy Spirit. God can only teach you patience through the pain as you wait while your soul is in agony.
He is not going to teach you patience while you have no idea that this is happening to you. Besides, before He bestows the gift of patience which is also called “long suffering” you actually learn what it means to wait for so long, in darkness that you learn to wait for hope. Now, imagine having to wait for hope itself? When this happened to me, I was so sure this darkness that surrounded me was too deep in my soul to be of God. In fact, the first thing I said was, wow, this darkness must be the devil. The Holy Spirit told me quietly with much reassurance that it was Him. Then, I knew I did not have to panic. But this is a lesson I do not wish on my worst enemy. There is only deep sorrow in your soul and you still have to keep going with Him. In fact, you will find that God even takes away the comfort and reassurance you feel in claiming His promises. That’s when He showed me how we use His promises like crutches and faith has to go beyond promises. I remember saying, but, how am I going to walk when you take your word away from me? THE DESPAIR IN THE SOUL WITHOUT THE WORD OF GOD IS UN
IMAGIN ABLE! Yet, He did not answer, while He waited for me
to have faith enough in HIM ALONE to take the next needed steps. While you do not even have His promises as a
crutch, He tells you “walk.” I remember standing there trying to understand,
how do I walk without feet? God remained silent through it all. The only way
you figure it out is by recalling that your soul has seen the invisible God, so
even if it means you are going to break your neck if you try to take one step
while you have no feet, then you do it. I am here to tell you that there is a different
kind of faith He works in your heart just for making the decision to go on with
Him in those circumstances that HE alone engineers for us.
The key lesson here is “HIM!” Not His word, not His promises, and not His Salvation, but HIM!
Another example is the doctrine of “taking up the cross to follow hard after Him” this is a life of radical obedience with a lot of consequences. Yet you have to be willing to accept everything for His sake. There is deliverance to self, brokenness and so on. All these things are made up of suffering that is most of the time, so painful to the soul. Another doctrine that brings suffering is our faith and it is directly related to the doctrine of taking up the cross to follow after Him. Because everything that opposes our faith is part of the cross we have to take to follow Him. To top it all, God is constantly testing our faith day in day out. Even when He gives us a vision and He chooses the path as well, you will always find yourself in some sort of dilemma that could lead you to doubt whether you were following God’s leading. When He taught me about those continual testing, there was a pain in my heart through the waiting process, which disappeared. One of the reasons it was so painful is because I know I have been through years of testing with Him and I passed them through His grace. I never expected Him to still be testing me so much, so I was raking my brain to find out what I am doing wrong. Guess what? I am so glad He taught me this lesson last week.
I am not trying to discourage anyone. I am not saying that living the true Christian life is not possible. What I am trying to say is that, there will constantly be pain in the offering. The offering here is about the giving up our lives to God. It is not easy; there is a major struggle going on inwardly and hardships all the way. But, each one of us has to make a decision to decide who we want to serve. While I am still fighting a good fight, I know from experience that God offers rest. It is a struggle for me because I am still learning to be consistent in living the life of complete rest that He offers all of us in Hebrews 4.
This is now turning into a post when in reality the real post was meant to be the words found in SUFFERING in Ransomed Heart!
Suffering is flooding the earth like a rising tide. This isn’t merely something we behold on the news. In the past six months nearly everyone dear to me has passed through a dark valley of suffering; so has our family. I’ll bet if you think of ten people you know, six are in the midst of some painful ordeal even now. Suffering will try to separate you from Jesus. You must not let it.
The worst part of suffering is the damage it can do to your view of God, your relationship with him. Feelings of abandonment creep in: Why did he let this happen? Anger. A loss of hope. Mistrust. Forsakenness. At the very time you need him most, you will feel most compelled to pull away from Jesus, or feel that he has pulled away from you.
Be very, very careful and pay attention to how you interpret your suffering. Don’t jump to conclusions. Interpretation is critical. Beware the agreements that you make. This is where the enemy can destroy you. Agreements such as God has abandoned me; it’s my fault; I’ve done something wrong, and a host of others. If you’ve been making these agreements, you will want to break them. They allow a chasm to form between you and your Jesus.
By all means, seek a breakthrough. Too many Christians simply fold under hardship and give way to the feelings of abandonment. Pray against it; pray hard. If it is an attack from the enemy, much of that can be shut down through prayer. Much healing is available, too, through the life of Jesus in us. Do not simply surrender. But when breakthrough does not seem to come, when the pain lingers on, remember this:
Just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. (2 Corinthians 1:5)
FROM: Ransomed Hearts