Monday, January 20, 2014

Why Suffering is Important

If I never felt physical pain, I would be okay with that. Who likes stubbing their toe or getting a hang nail? I always get a little angry when I hurt myself, but I keep it all in my head. For example, Once upon a time while running, I was trying to run along a beautiful lake but couldn't find a sidewalk. Well I finally found one and was too busy looking at the water to see a rope coming from someone's lawn down to the water. There I lay on the ground, wanting to throw in the towel on my running career. Angry at myself for falling and thinking why am I out here?! Lord just take me home now!  I brushed off the dirt and finished my 6 mile run. During my marathon training, I endured a lot of physical sufferings. I learned what not to eat before and during a run- just trust me that's a hard lesson to learn. I endured heat, humidity, rain, snow (okay no snow), throwing up, falling down, tired muscles, tired everything, but through it all, I endured. Why? Because I wanted to be made strong for my marathon. I ran my marathon and finished very well - 4 hours and 4 minutes and 18 seconds. It was through my sufferings that I was made stronger and I accomplished something I never thought I could do with the Lord. 
Me right after finishing my marathon and ready to fall over!
See those people behind me? I beat them. hehee
They want to fall over too.

Most people, myself included, don’t like the idea of pain or tragedy. But what if that pain or tragedy is what God intended to mold us into something bigger than we could ever imagine? And through our sufferings came an outpour of blessings and a closeness to God like never before. What if many came to know Christ through your sufferings? If given the choice, would you accept God’s perfect will or choose to not suffer? 

I have to admit that’s a pretty sobering thought. If given the choice, though the road may be long, treacherous, and lonely, I hope I would choose God’s bigger plan for my life. Sure the thought of blessings sounds great, but what if those blessings don’t come for many years? Would you still be faithful? The Bible says in Galatians 6:9,
 “ And let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.”  

Let’s take a look at a biblical example: One of the most popular- Job

My sweet nephew Gabriel who is now leaping on the streets of gold.
One by one his servants, who nearly escaped death each time, came to give Job bad news. First the Sabeans came and took his oxen and donkeys, then they killed all his servants (except the one that got away), then fire falls from heaven and burns up his sheep and more servants (except the one that got away), then the Chaldeans came took his camels and killed more servants, (except the one that got away), and then the worst news, a great wind came and blew over his son’s house with all his children and remaining servants in it ,except the one that got away. Satan had to make sure Job got the messages of what was going on so he spared one servant from each tragedy- very kind of him. What are the odds of all these things happening in one day to one man?! 

What was the first thing Job did after receiving the most devastating news of his life? He fell down to the ground and worshipped God. He worshipped God. What he said next is one of my favorite verses, the verse God gave me when we had our miscarriage. 
“And he said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither. the LORD gave and the LoRD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

The Bible says, Job went through his testings and sinned not. What was the end result? Job 42:12 
“So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters...After this lived Job 140 years and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations.” 
I can’t imagine losing a child let alone all of my children (speaking of my future children that don’t currently exist). God brought Job down to nothing, to mold him into something way bigger than himself. So others could look at Job’s life and see not Job but God shining through him. To have a hope in something way bigger than Job, a hope in Christ. 

I’ve never been through the tragedy of losing someone very close to me, and I hope I never do. But if the Lord wills for that to happen in my life, may I be like Job. I think of many that I know who have been through the pain of losing a loved one, even a child. May I encourage you, to hang in there and trust the Lord. I believe God has plans bigger than you can imagine and He will be faithful to pour out His blessings. 

Does that mean the road has been or will be easy? Not at all. Even though Job had ten more children, I don’t think for a minute that that replaced those children who died. But sometimes we have to endure pain to be molded and used for God in great ways. We must let go of our own desires and dreams and accept God’s perfect plan even if it hurts. God can not lie. And He promises to be faithful. All we must do is our part of being faithful in return. 

Think of the countless people who have heard the story of Job and have had new hope given to them because of it. Do you think Job would say his sufferings were worth it? 

I know a man named Jesus who also went through sufferings on the cross to redeem a world full of sinners like me. Was his sufferings worth it? Yes. Then are the sufferings that you may have to endure or are enduring, worth it for the cause of Christ? That’s something only you can answer. 

For those of you I know who have been through a whirl wind these last couple of years, my heart truly goes out to you. And I pray for you often. I thank the Lord for your testimony through it all. You give me hope if one day the Lord will’s for me to go through a trial like your own. Thank you for being faithful. 

Blessed be the name of the Lord!