Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Do you see it as a gift yet?

Reminder: Mature believers don't seek for or desire suffering—duh, that'd be way weird—they don't even ask for this kinda thing, but on the other hand they never "suffer well" here on earth until they view suffering as a gift that they've been entrusted with for the purpose of glorifying God in. And doesn't the Bible encourage us to praise God in (instead of "for") all things? 

Sure, but who do we redeemed-sinners think that we are in this sin-cursed, fallen world (that wasn't made that way by God's wrong-doing, but by ours)… those who should somehow be exempt from all the pains, troubles, difficulties, far from ideal situations, and sufferings that are common to other people? 

Jesus and His first century followers all suffered, but they also rejoiced in it. They praised God and sang His praises too. They really loved comforting each other with the powerful Word of God the strong grace that His Spirit gave to them, because they each had been to hurting-ville to some degree before. 

What does God's holy say, "'Comfort, yes, comfort My people!' Says your God" (Isa. 40:1).

"Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms" (Jam. 5:13).

"Therefore comfort one another with these Words" (1 Thess. 4:18).

What have believers said about this? "One thing we may be sure of, however: for the believer all pain has meaning; all adversity is profitable. There is no question that adversity is difficult. It usually takes us by surprise and seems to strike where we are most vulnerable. To us it often appears completely senseless and irrational, but to God none of it is either senseless or irrational. He has a purpose in every pain He brings or allows in our lives. We can be sure that in some way He intends it for our profit and His glory." ~ Jerry Bridges

"I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God." ~ Elisabeth Elliot

"We must never minimize the suffering of another. Scripture's mandate to us is, 'Weep with them that weep'" (Rom. 12:15, kjv). ~ Billy Graham

"Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering.. The love of God did not protect His own Son.. He will not necessarily protect us—not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process." ~Elisabeth Elliot

"We all know people who have been made much meaner and more irritable and more intolerable to live with by suffering: it is not right to say that all suffering perfects. It only perfects one type of person.. the one who accepts the call of God in Christ Jesus!" ~ Oswald Chambers

The Bible says "Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing" (1 Thess. 5:11).

"..warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all" (1 Thess. 5:14).

Yes, contrary to what many so called high-profile contemporary preachers keep teaching even today, if we obey the Bible Jesus fully ..and thus worship the Father n boldly spread His glorious Gospel the way He intends for us to do, then we indeed will have our share of trials, persecution, fierce opposition, spiritual attacks, and at times, warm tears rolling down our cheeks..that will eventually all get wiped away forever from the One who also had warm tears rolling down His face thinking about others in their messed up plight! 

How could the God who fiercely loves you ever deeply comfort you and me if He never allowed for us to feel some of what He and his loyal followers have felt? Be encouraged today, you've not been left as an orphan out in the cold for even one second. 

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