Since Friday I have had the pleasure of sitting across the table with people on three different occasions as I listen to their journey and walk beside them. As I’ve listened my heart stirred and my mind ticked. Then on Sunday at church our pastor spoke from 2 Cor 9 on generosity and the misconceptions with ‘prosperity’ teachings, and the dangers in it. Just now I’ve returned from having lunch with my parents where suffering was discussed. And I couldn’t help but once again find myself in front of the screen with my fingers tapping to share with you beauties.
There is an art to suffering that many miss. Myself included for far too many years. And it’s only by the grace of God that has changed. All too often we have well meaning people come up to us to let us know the ‘key’ to unlocking our hardship and changing our situation…being, to examine our hearts or just have a little more faith.
John 16:33 tells us in the amplified version “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have (perfect) peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer (take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted). For I have overcome the world. (I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you)”
Threaded from Genesis to Revelation we see godly people who endure hardship. We see them knocked down but not out. And we see them cling to God and see a work like no other. If we look close enough we also see that they receive a gift that has no comparison. They know God intimately, they see His glory and experience much. They live out a life of unprecedented purpose, growth and fellowship with God. And we also see within the pages alerts to this being a process where God can purpose something far deeper and richer that has higher value than a life tied in a nice little bow with ease and red carpets.
So if you happen to be in a time of suffering or wilderness and you too have those ever helpful people spouting off things to you, think about the art of suffering. Focus on the character and ways of our God. And try to look through the right lense. The one where you see what can be gained from this season.
And I promise you from experience, He does not leave that pain and ache within your being as you grow. He takes that in His loving arms and restores, heals, redeems, repurposes and what you are left with is something so extravagant I can’t see you trading this moment for anything in the world because of what is beyond this. The gift that comes with the art of suffering. Oh how beautiful it is, if we would give it to God and trust Him and allow Him to unfold!
I hope that you will run to God with all you have, throw yourself into His Word to mature and grow, and see what treasure you are left with.