Keeping The Faith
Wisdom is Having A Relationship With Jesus As The Foundation Of Your Faith!
“Being satisfied in God (or anything) always seems easier when all is going well. But when things you love are being stripped out of your hands, then the test is real. If God remains precious in those moments, then his supreme worth shines more brightly. He is most glorified.” — John Piper
My mother used to say, “If nothing bad or difficult ever happened to Christians, then every one would want to be a Christian.”
That resonates within me when I see suffering. God never promised that Christians would always be blessed with prosperity, excellent health, or every prayer magically answered to keep us out of difficulty, hardship or distress. In fact, after Jesus tells the disciples about his departure from this world to go to the Father, he says: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I want to share a personal story about a dear co-worker who many affectionately call “Care Bear”. A month ago, she thought all was well with her health and she had not been to a doctor in a long time because there was no need she knew of. She went to get her regular annual blood work drawn, and the abnormal results turned her world upside down. Care Bear learned that even though she didn’t have any symptoms, she had a large cancerous mass in her colon area. Within a matter of weeks, she was scheduled for surgery. Her surgery date became the Friday before my surgery. In contrast, my surgery was scheduled many months in advance and was a routine outpatient procedure. Care Bear, who continued to come to work with a smile on her face and a testimony that she was just trusting God to see her through the unknown, never turned her focus inward to self-pity or negativity. In fact, my heart was deeply moved, when she spent the couple of days before her surgery advocating for me, to make sure I had all my benefits in place that I needed before my surgery. She even advocated for me on my day off, which resulted in things getting taken care of me for me that my immediate boss didn’t realize needed to be done. Her focus remained as always, on others and being a caring soul. Unfortunately, on the day of her surgery, we all received the bad news that the doctor couldn’t “get it all”, and she may have to have a permanent colostomy, as well as chemo/radiation. There was not a person in the room, who didn’t shed a tear for her and wish she didn’t have to suffer so much. A few days after my surgery, I learned that she was handling the news with great strength and trying to remain positive, and get up to move around as much as she could. Some good news was shared that the cancer had not made it to her lymph system, which offered more hope for treatment.
As I went through my own share of surgery anxiety and painful post-op recovery days, I found it easier to suffer through because my mind was so focused on my co-worker. What I went through wasn’t pleasant, but it paled in comparison to what Care Bear was going through. I also thought about how no matter what any of us suffer in this life, It pales in comparison to what Jesus suffered through….for us. Like Care Bear, even in the midst of suffering, His focus was not on himself. He was consumed with love and concern for us. Care Bear, being a Christian, with a deep faith, just naturally reflected Jesus to me in a wonderful way ……through her suffering. How amazing is that!
So take heart, dear Christian, when you face suffering or trials in this fallen and imperfect world. Jesus may be with the Father, but he resides within us as well, and therefore, when a Christian who has a relationship with Him faces suffering or difficulty, they do not walk through that dark valley alone. Keeping focus on Jesus provides a comfort, peace and hope in the midst of the trials, and allows that person’s faith to be a wonderful testimony to believers and to unbelievers as well. When a Christian faces the unknown and clings to Jesus, it is unmistakable that they have something the world can not fully grasp or understand. It is the same spiritual presence that dwelt within the disciples and transformed them from weak and fearful commoners into unwavering celebrated martyrs. The same Jesus who empowered them, will empower you as well.
God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.”
Praying that you will keep the faith always,
How Christians Prepare For Suffering: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/how-christians-prepare-for-suffering
Christian Suffering: http://www.love-amazing.com/suffering.htm
Why Do Some Christians Suffer More Than Others?: http://creation.com/christian-suffering
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