Archives For suffering

Endurance required.

Chilly —  August 21, 2013 — 9 Comments

I suppose it seems odd or maybe even inappropriate for me to write about suffering, discipline and endurance while on an extended beach vacation with my family. I can see your point. Yet, for me, vacation is not an escape from reality but rather a time for catching my breath and finding new vision for the battle that my family has been called to lead and serve. Times away, like this, give me perspective and strengthen my resolve.

Ok, so here’s what’s on my mind tonight…

endurance-300x3001When the word “endurance” is used in connection with our faith and service to God. We get uncomfortable. We don’t like to be pushed or required – it should be “at our speed and relaxed & enjoyable at all times.” Hmmm… we (including me) really don’t get it sometimes… 

We appear confused, shocked and disappointed when our Christian life brings a little hardship, difficulty or pain. It’s not that we don’t like to talk about sacrifice and pain — we love to post and tweet about our new trendy diet or our fitness training.  But our Christian service rarely merits such noble and frequent discussion. And, let’s not play the humble card here…

“Life is hard enough”, we want a brand of Christianity that is “fun, on-our-terms and celebrated.” And, it’s not hard to land in a place that will provide it.

Who told us it would be easy? 

Not the Bible.

In fact, the Bible tells us and gives us examples, time after time after time, that being a Christian is going to cost us… everything.  And you know what — why shouldn’t it?!

Jesus entered the world through the excruciating & humbling process of childbirth. I still can’t get my head around how my God could become so vulnerable and fragile – all so I could be strong. He then grows into a man with complete physical senses and allows himself to be beaten beyond recognition and ultimately killed.  It hurt him in ways we could never comprehend. Yet…   

He beat it.  He rose. He reigns.

And, the fact remains

  • no cross, no crown 
  • no rules,  no rights 
  • no pain,   no purpose.

Continue Reading…

Face Forward, Unflinching.

Chilly —  August 12, 2013 — 13 Comments

“If we love God and love others in Him, we will be glad to let suffering destroy anything in us that God is pleased to let it destroy, because we know that all it destroys is unimportant. We will prefer to let the accidental trash of life be consumed by suffering in order that His glory may come out clean in everything we do.”  Thomas Merton

He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort – we get a full measure of that, too. When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. 2 Corinthians 1:4-6 msg.

IMG_2130It may seem odd for me to post about suffering while on vacation in ‘paradise!’ Yes, there’s no doubt, I’m so blessed for this time of rest & recreation with my family – I love it (and need it). But,   for some time now, I’ve been going through a mental & spiritual struggle that didn’t simply vanish when I changed locations or responsibilities. As some see ‘suffering,’ my trial is probably small…   I’m grateful for the strength of the Holy Spirit and for the trust God has given me to carry a burden. I choose joy in my journey. Quitting is never an option – my faith is secure in Him.

I challenge you to trust God in ALL things — even the trials that He allows. Such suffering only proves our faith and declares to our fallen world that through Christ we can endure and overcome anything that comes against us. Our testimony is not that we don’t face the same tests or trials of the world, but that we are not alone when they come and that we become greater as we go through them. It would be foolish, however, to seek suffering as some badge of honor – instead, we seek Christ in ALL things – confident that He is always with us. In both battles and blessings may His purpose be accomplished.

Thankful for His presence & perspective… Chilly