They waited for me as for showers…. (Job 29:23).
It feels good to be praised and on top of the world. It feels good to be the one others look to and esteem. Job was a man whom others esteemed, but God saw fit to allow deep suffering to enter into Job’s life for really no fault of his own. Could it be that our sufferings are really gifts from God sent to take us to places of deeper compassion? Could it be that our pride feels good about our security and safety so much that we find comfort in it without thinking much about others or the Kingdom of God? Could it be that maybe what Job needed was not more praise, but a deeper heart of compassion found only through suffering?
Let’s be honest, our hearts grow through suffering. At least, they can, as long as we don’t grow bitter. There’s a story for our hearts to share with others if we’re willing to allow suffering to re-shape our hearts to make us more like Jesus. Why do we believe God owes us an easy life when what we asked for was to be made more like Jesus? The suffering son of God took up His cross and died a martyrs death on Golgotha and it was for glory and redemption that He died. It was for the saving of many lives. Could it be that our suffering is producing something so great that we wouldn’t believe it if we would just hang on?
I’ll be honest, I’m quick to shout out in my heart to God, “But it’s not fair! What have I done to deserve this? Why am I being punished over and over again?”
It’s not that God is punishing us. He’s growing us to believe anything else only shines a light on our immaturity. Our suffering is part of His story for our lives. He sees it yes, does He delight in it? No. Whenever God takes us down the road of suffering it’s because He loves us. There’s something that would never be accomplished in our lives apart from it.
I hear the Lord say, “Heather, it’s not about you doing things for me, it’s about me doing something IN you.” This road of humility I have been walking with God has been immensely painful at times. Yet, I hear the master saying, “Trust me, there is greater glory at stake.” There is no place God will not take us that His grace does not find us. The problem arises when we stop looking for grace. Without grace, we’re sure to hold onto our own anger or disdain over our present circumstances. Could it be that our present plight is for the perfection of our personhood? Could it be that the stripping away of the old man or woman within us is being accomplished as God shines His light into hearts through humbling circumstances that are sometimes no fault of our own?
I hear God saying, “Heather, lay your Issac down and trust me.” In my heart, I do not want to. It feels unfair, but I long to sit with the master in the comfort of His love. I believe by faith that God is redeeming it even now. I believe that He will accomplish His will and it will be for the saving of many lives and for the renewal of my own heart. Sometimes we have to lay our Isaac down because we had unhealthy attachments to it or have found our identity in it or God is preparing us for something different that suffering can only produce.
Do not think of God’s discipline or life’s hardships as God’s punishments, but rejoice that you have been deemed worthy of suffering. For in your suffering God is growing you, and re-shaping your heart to be made more like Jesus. After all, life is not about your happiness, it is indeed about your holiness and there are joy and grace that await you if you would only trust God with the process.
Lord, you are so good! I do not have to fear what tomorrow brings, but I can trust in your name. When my heart churns within me sometimes I feel anger rising up. It is only because at times I do not want to accept your will. Forgive me! I want my life to be lived out on display for the glory of God. Thank you that you chose me to walk this journey and thank you that it will be for the saving of many lives! In Jesus name, Amen!