Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Iron in Our Soul

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18 (NKJ)

Imagine someone thumbing through a magazine at a doctor’s office, someone coming across an online theme project titled “Suffering is Good!” might hesitate to look. Then quickly drawing the conclusion that the writers for the magazine must be a bunch uninformed people who had never experienced true suffering. Totally oblivious to the real world for thinking or saying that suffering comes close to being good--- what a bunch of quacks! Sorry, wrong conclusion.

Like it or not we all belong to the same club that no one wants to join in which we all have membership; fellowshipping in suffering. Unfortunately no one seems to be excluded from this club as we face problems, struggles, or sufferings in one way or another whether it is health issues, family problems, financial struggles, abuse, neglect, emotional setbacks or whatever.

At the time we are going through our moments of suffering or hard times the last thing on our mind is the good that can come from our experience. We shut off anyone trying to encourage us to see the light at the end of the tunnel we find ourselves walking through.

Several times when my struggles with my epilepsy, finances, and marital problems were at their worse I couldn’t be convinced that good was going to come from this. I was planning and throwing my own pity party but very few people were attending. Satan had me blinded and I was going along with it.

Without a doubt we lose sight of the truth Paul talked about in Romans 8:18 that tell us our suffering can’t compare to the glory that is to come. We find ourselves caught in Satan’s trap of comparing not to the glory to come but to other people’s experiences in a “feel sorry for me” attempt to collect sympathy or vent our troubles.

To some when they think of suffering they think of the martyrs and other people who have suffered a great deal due to their belief in Jesus Christ. That is what Peter and others in the Bible would term as, suffering for all the right reasons “for the sake of the gospel.” That was what Paul was talking about in Romans 8. Others look at the word suffering and immediately think of all the pain, anguish, distress and misery they’ve experienced in the struggles they had been through in life whether it was something they brought upon themselves or those uninvited incidents dealt to us by life itself.

How we handle these stressful times of suffering is what makes all the difference in the world on whether the outcome is one that is good or bad. We may not be able to change the circumstances surrounding our moments of suffering but we have control over how we are going to allow ourselves to go through and come out of them. We can fight the inevitable or learn how to deal with it when it does come along.

Like it or not; accept it or not; choose it or not we are going to suffer in some way or another, in different degrees or levels and it’s important that we prepare ourselves and others such as our children to be readily equipped with what it takes to see it through.

By equipping ourselves with the armor of God’s Word we can fight against Satan. Standing up to the lies he likes to feed us when we are at our weakest moments such as the lie that nothing good could come from our pain and misery. Doing all he can to try and get us to turn away from God and blame Him for everything instead of turning to Him for the strength and comfort needed to endure.

The good we fail to see that comes from suffering is it pressures us to draw closer to God if we allow it. A dear friend of mine as he approached the end of his battle with cancer told me how thankful he was for what he had gone through because of the bond it had built up between God and himself.

The way we endure our suffering demonstrates if we truly belong to God by how we handle the situation proving our integrity and character in Christ. Circumstances may change but our character in Christ should never alter as we stand in faith and trust that we have in our Lord and Savior.

Believe it or not our misery or problems are sometimes God’s gift to us to strengthen us as He leads us where we need to be, putting strength and iron in our soul. It produces rewards for us in the future giving us the courage needed to face the challenges before us in future times of suffering. In any case, there is no quota to reach on how many times we have to endure something, what there is, is the choice on how we are going to go through it.

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive us Lord for our inability to suffer well turning it into an excuse for bitterness, anger, and division from You. Help us Lord to see the good that can come from these incidents in life. We’d like our foresight to be clear and perfect but it’s our hindsight that is 20/20. Help us to learn from that perception after the fact using always the iron in our soul that it puts there to help those around us struggling to get across, weakening under the lies of Satan. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

© 2007 by Karen J. Gillett

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