Thursday, January 27, 2011

long-suffering

First, let me thank ya'll for your sweet comments yesterday.
I am finding that I don't recover as well as I used to from a sleepless night...go figure.  But I am happy to say that I got a great night's sleep last night!!  thanks for the prayers!
Some of it I think can be attributed to the fact that I forced myself to go exercise last night....I am seeing a pattern in this stage of my life...

exercise = sleep.  

and I really hate that.
a lot.

But as I told you yesterday, I have been wrestling with God on several issues. 
One being long-suffering.

None of us like to suffer or go through hard times.  It is our nature to take the easy, least painful way out of any situation.  
However, God's Word tells us over and over again that there is a positive aspect to suffering.....through it we can become like Jesus.

Right now I have many good friends that are in the middle of major trials in their lives.  And as I pray for them and try to minister to and encourage them, it is no coincidence that my current bible study, my devotions for the last couple of days and my personal study have all been on suffering.

No, let me restate that....have all been on my response to suffering.

We are all going to endure suffering at some time.  We are not the first to suffer and we won't be the last.

In my mind, there are 2 kinds of suffering...
**trouble you bring on yourself through bad choices and sin and 
**suffering that comes from just living in a fallen world and at times being hit by the shrapnel of other's bad choices and sin.

It is the second that I am focusing on today.  

It is hard to reconcile suffering when you or your loved one are innocent.
It doesn't seem fair and when we are in the middle of it, it can be so painful that it feels like we may never find our way out.

In Habakkuk, God tells the prophet that hard times are coming.  Things are going to get worse. The nation of Israel is going to be taken captive due to their disobedience.  I love Habakkuk's response:

"I heard and my inward parts trembled, at the sound my lips quivered.  Decay enters my bones, and in my place I tremble. Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, for the people to arise who will invade us.  Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.   The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds' feet and makes me walk on my high places.

Basically he says...no matter what happens, I WILL exult in the Lord and rejoice in Him. 

He knew his God, creator of heaven and earth, and knew with Him, he could endure whatever circumstance he found himself in.

That is Faith.
That is Faith's obedience. 

How do we do that?
We cling to God's Word.
We believe Him, obey Him and do not turn away no matter how difficult it gets.

We take our circumstance and with faith unite it with the Word of God....we do not shrink back or drift away.

Blackaby says "There are some things that God can build into our lives only through suffering."

If we become bitter over our hardships, we close parts of our life from God and never see the blessings that He meant to come out of that time.

Can you look back on some of your hardships and see the good that came out of them?  I can. 

In the Book of Acts we see the New Testament church gathering together for prayer and growing in numbers.  But the disciples soon faced opposition, judgment, ridicule, pain and even prison due to their faith.  Jesus had told them that they would receive power and become witnesses not only in Jerusalem but to the ends of the earth.  This opposition which threatened to snuff out their faith only scattered them out of the city, far and wide....allowing them to spread the Good News!

Our current trial/suffering may seem hopeless.  It may be horribly painful.  We may not be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  But my friends, if we will cling to God, rest our weary heads on His Word and rejoice in Him, we will endure. 

And on the other side, will be able to look back and say "wow, I don't want to ever go through that again...but I would if I knew this good would come out of it"

I love this quote from Angie Smith
"I do not serve a God who allows the world to determine what is hopeless"


16 comments:

Pamela said...

As someone who lives with chronic pain, this post and Blackaby's quote really spoke to me. This is an awesome post...thank you for your willingness to write with wisdom.

Mimi said...

Your voice came through so loudly today. Well done.

Hugs & love,
Mimi

Sara said...

oh ho ho long suffering is NOT my strong suit, I turn into a spoiled brat when it comes to this.
Stomp my feet, throw my arms, pity pout "But I don't want to be like Jesus." Oh yes, it is a ridiculous sight. I think He laughs at me, I really do.
I must certainly can look back and say Yes, that hurt like hell but look where it's gotten me, look where He's brought me.
I had a lady in my bible study that made us laugh when she said "I don't want to tempt God, so I don't complain about anything."
She didn't want change, so she just kept right on trucking...or she'd have liked too.
My sufferings have been mild, I haven't lost anything dear to me (I don't really count my relationship with my dad as dear, it never was good, so how can you miss something you never had, other then wish you had it...off track)
I haven't lost a child or spouse or had illness like so many people have. I hate to admit that, because now I feel, well crap now something bad IS going to happen.
What my point was: I'm not sure exulting is going to be first or even 100th on my list of reactions.
I am honest saying that, but I'd like to think that eventually I'd get there, that it would be the 101 reaction. ;)
This was a inspiring post Sara.
PS do you have a color preference for your blossom? Would Alyssa like one too? I will also need you address. (you can email me parkercox74@hotmail.com)

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

Well said!

Learning the benefits of persistent prayer through continual suffering, whatever kind of difficulty it may be is the path to understanding things in hindsight that make no sense in the present.

We don't learn to appreciate our trials or the lessons we learn from them until we can look back on them through the eyes of distance.

Thanks for sharing you perspective. I know it will help someone who may be experiancing a difficult time.



R

rita said...

Great treatise on suffering.

Tiffany said...

Oh man God knew I needed to read this today. We are in the midst of it right now - a seemingly perfect storm. Your post is a reminder from God for me today - good will come of it.

Mocha with Linda said...

Amen. And interesting to read this just after watching the YouTube video of Chris Medina's story from Idol last night. What a testimony of long-suffering.

Tiffany said...

Thank you so much for sharing, Sarah. Good WORD!

STILLMAGNOLIA said...

Wow What a post. We started Jonah, Navigating a Life Interrupted on Monday night. Your quote could have easily come from out first lesson. I am learning that the interruptions in my life...have always been God's divine intervention....and not just put there so He can laugh at me as I stumble.

Christine said...

Thank you for sharing, Sara. And funny that it goes along with what I've been learning and wrestling with this week too. God looks at the poor and hungry and says "you are blessed". And to the well-fed and rich He say "woe to you". (the beatitudes) God's wisdom is often quite opposite to man's wisdom. Far too often I look at hardships and think "woe is me", when God is looking at the ENTIRE situation and says, "Christine, blessed are you. Just wait, my daughter. I am not finished." This is rockin' my world, Sara. Truly I have MUCH to learn.
Maybe I should write a blog post about this... if only I could find the time and His words to share. I'm glad you did! :)

Lisa said...

Its such a hard, wonderful thing when God deals with us!

Excellent post!

Jill said...

Beautiful post Saran. I have been MIA and am glad to start catching up on THIS post!
Thank you for these words for me to ponder.

Have a good weekend.

Karin said...

That is the second time today I have read those verses in Hab. Hmmmmm... Been doing a bit of suffering lately, so I think I'm being told to just praise God in the midst of it. :) Thank you for this post...loved it.

Karin said...

PS: Gloating about your 70 degree weather is so mean. Hee!

Angie said...

You'll see from my blog that our suffering today is the loss of a parent. There are no words for the ache and sadness, the suffering heart, BUT HE IS ABUNDANTLY FAITHFUL! Do we want to go through this? No. Is death inevitable? Yes. What I love is the Father's care, comfort and attention to detail is ALL over our situation. He makes it easy to see His faithfulness when we're willing to cast our eyes on Him. Thanks, Sara.

Bellezza said...

The second kind of long-suffering you mention is indeed a difficult thing to deal with. When I'm so discouraged with it, I remember Job who said, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord" and in all he did, he did not sin by cursing the Lord. I would never curse the Lord, I sincerely hope, but perhaps my questioning Him is a form of cursing? I'm just thinkin' out loud here.