[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] … Philippians 3:10 Amplified Bible
Last week I introduced the talking point that KNOWING HIM is a painful experience as we get to know Him better in our suffering.
We were in Minnesota a couple of weeks ago to welcome our 11th grandchild. Technically, the baby’s due date was the birthday of our 2nd grandchild, Lindsay Alice Groen.
Lindsay went home to be with Jesus on May 16, 2008, after a several month journey resulting from the detection of a leaky heart valve that resulted in her first open heart surgery, a cardiac arrest, and second open heart surgery, then the gift of a new heart when God called her home.
It was during this very difficult time that we learned so many lessons during her time of suffering. She was mostly unconscious and in a sleep-induced coma during her illness, so she was not able to communicate. BUT her little life spoke volumes around the world and her story continues to touch people’s hearts as we get to share so many of the lessons we learned during her brief but unexpected illness.
I wish that I could give definitive answers as to why God allows us to suffer.
But I can tell you this: One of the ways God uses suffering in our lives is so that we can come alongside those who are suffering and share with them that God’s grace will see them THROUGH.
The Apostle Paul knew first-hand what suffering was about. He first caused suffering as he personally persecuted the church. But he himself experienced beatings, stonings, ship-wreck, being chained in prison where he penned several books of the Bible under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
He wrote: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all mercies and God of ALL comfort; who comforts us in ALL our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in ANY affliction with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
We all have our stories. And our stories would be in vain if we didn’t use them to give God glory and share with others how during the seasons of suffering in our lives, God showed up and demonstrated His power and glory.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.”
Preacher George Matheson, who knew pain and suffering, wrote: “My dear God, I have never thanked You for the my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses but not my thorns. I have always looked forward to the place where I will be rewarded for my cross, but I have never thought of my cross as a present glory itself. Teach me the value of my thorns. Show me how I have climbed to You through the path of pain. Show me it is through my tears I have seen my rainbows.”
Knowing Him is a painful experience, but it is worth it. We may not see the big picture or understand what He is doing, but we can trust His heart.
Rejoice! Pray! Give thanks!
Bill Welte, D.D.
President/CEO of America’s Keswick
Written by Dr. Bill Welte, President/CEO of America’s Keswick: Bill has been married to his child sweetheart for 40+ years, and has three married kids, one that is engaged, and 11 amazing grand kids. He loves music and is an avid reader.
Think About This: If God sends us on stony paths He will provide us with strong shoes. Alexander MacLaren
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14