Sunday, September 30, 2012

purposeful suffering

Suffering is a topic that I don't blog about often, yet recently it has been my constant companion.

I have just read Ann Voskamps' Because We All Have These Days When We're Just Hanging on by a String. I have just passed through a time of pain, of soul-searching and sadness. I dug deep in the Word, the life-giving Logos from my Father. I meditated on His promises and lifted my eyes from the very-present trouble in my life onto the hope that He provides believers. For if I am to believe, I must trust. Ann says about a friend:
"She knows there's no lone victors and every conqueror always has a team, so she reaches out to me last week. Tells me with she’s on the front lines and the negative thoughts are shelling her hard and she’s trying to hold the enemy back with the Word because the only way to ever gain ground is to get deeper into God."
I can identify with this sentiment. I have reached out to my sister Tricia to help me, to pray for me and to hold me up. It does me a world of good to know that she has my spiritual back. And my God-fearing Mama's prayers as well.

The pressure and pain of my life center around my life and family:
  • the pain of watching someone I love disobey the Lord, and my knowledge of the ongoing curse of consequences
  • the pain of having a beloved family member cut off by divorce
  • the pain of a brother not walking with God, purposely running away
  • the pain of not having any help with household repairs and remodeling
  • the pain of daily existence with overwhelming stress
  • the pain of feeling inadequate
  • the pain of Tricia's debilitating MS
  • the pain of Mom's elderliness and frailty
  • the pain of my unmarried state
  • the pain of the depraved state of our culture
  • the pain of feeling I am shouldering my burdens alone
Tricia and I were speaking the other day about being childless. I think that even if I never birth children of my own, I have had spiritual children to pass through my life at different times for over 20 years now, children and young people whom I have invested in, mentored, discipled, and loved. In my finite human mind, they do not seem enough. But if they are all that I will ever have, then our omniscient God deems them enough.

Psalm 25:18 says, "Look on my affliction and my pain and forgive all my sins." I have said this. I recognize His wisdom. I know that my pain is nothing compared to what Jesus in His earthly life and the saints have suffered, so I try to keep what I am going through in perspective. Yet, "Jesus endured the suffering of the cross because of the joy that was set before Him" (Hebrews 12:2). So I MUST look forward to the hope and joy of the end results of it all in my spiritual life.

"Thy Word is a lamp to my feet., and a light unto my path."
Shedding light in my darkness and discouragement
Shedding light on my sins and fears
Shedding light on the truth and real-ness of God in times of pain and need

I am gaining ground and getting deeper.
I want to be Cross-eyed, to be able to understand the purposeful suffering I endure.
I still expect miracles and showdowns.

And God will win in the end!

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