Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sweet Sufferings

I have so many posts that have been in my head (and I've been HORRIBLE about posting), but this is one that keeps pressing me with urgency.  Maybe it's because of all the heartache all around me.  Whether it be breakups, loneliness, divorce, miscarriage, infertility, death, any kind of heartache - I want to encourage you that you are not alone and you are loved.  You are loved more than you can imagine.  I was gifted with a glimpse of this love and my mind can't comprehend it.

After your season of suffering, God in all His grace will restore, confirm, strengthen & establish you. 1 Peter 5:10:

If you belong to Jesus, your suffering is never in vain.  He showed me that through my years of infertility struggles.  Our suffering will never be greater than God's comfort.  He is the Father of compassion. 

Rest assured, your pain is for a purpose.  According to 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, "...the Father of mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."  This means suffering connects us to other people in a way no other experience can.  No one gets it quite like someone who has been there.  The purpose for your pain may be that you are supposed to walk through it in order to help someone else who will be going through it later. 

Suffering also creates in us a patient endurance that might not have been there prior.  In fact, I'm 99.9% sure that it wasn't.  Patience is born out of waiting.  And sometimes that waiting is painful.  I love Romans 5:3-5 where Paul says, "And not only this, but we exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

Tribulations -> Perseverance -> Proven Character -> Hope -> God's Love
You like my little illustration there?  The end result in God's love.  He loves you through it all, but I don't think you can clearly see it when you're in the depths of it.  Hold tight,  When you make it to the other side...ahh, what a glorious view!  He loves us SO MUCH.  He loves us so much, in fact, that He often times saves us from what we think we want because He has something better.  

Nothing teaches you obedience quite like waiting.  Isn't that how we train our puppies?  Sit. Stay. Good boy!  Not that God speaks to us like that, by any means.  It's just an illustration of how obeying yields rewards.  I feel like God's talking to us is more like, "Be still.  Calm down.  Don't fight me.  I've got this.  If you would just be quiet, I will fight this for you.  I love you and I'm going to do what's best for you." in the calmest, most assuring, loving voice you've ever heard.  I know I've spoken those words to my precious Emmeline as she's battled me during nap time.  She's flailed and screamed and I knew what was best for her as I tried to gently soothe her and rock her to sleep.  But she could be relentless!  Isn't that just how we are?  Exodus 14:14 and Psalm 46:10 truly came alive to me in the person of my little bity baby.  And I could see clearly how I learned to stop, be still, wait, and listen as I waiting during my trial.

Sufferings can bring us to the end of ourselves.  But it's not THE end...because there's Jesus, arms open wide.  He's waiting this whole time.  Suffering can shift our reliance from being on ourselves to relying on God.  What a sweet release that is when you finally surrender.  Again, I love Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 12:9 where he says, ""My grace (Jesus' grace) is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."  Powerful.  Weakness is actually a gift from God.  It's His way of reminding us that we don't have to do this alone.  He's got this.  He loves us, listens to us, and will work everything together for the good of those who believe in Him. (Romans 8:28)

 2 Corinthians 12:9. Literally just wrote tho sin my journal this morning.:

Let your heart be encouraged.  You are never alone.  You are loved more than you can imagine and every little thing is going to be okay.

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