Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Suffering

The north wind made the vikings
~ Scandanavian proverb

Suffering makes us dig in, suffering shapes us like a storm shapes a tree.  Wind makes a tree stronger, and suffering makes us stronger. Suffering reveals our weaknesses, it makes us let go of self and be more reliant on God.  It makes us understand when others suffer, suffering knocks off our corners.

Sometimes suffering can be overwhelming, it clouds us, it surrounds us like a storm at sea there seems no way out, we are tossed here and there.

We know that we will have trouble in this world.  We know we ought to be cheerful for Jesus has overcome the world - but it is so hard to live this out when we are in the middle of the storm. 

Hold on tight though, don't let the storm consume you.

You are hidden in the cleft of the Rock- wait for the storm to pass by.

Rest in the shadow of the Almighty even as the storm rages around.

Rest in Jesus as he sleeps in the boat during the storm knowing that God is can still any storm.  He will carry you through.

Jesus understands.  He understands because he suffered too, he suffered more than any man who ever lived.  The suffering, sin, sickness and pain of this world was laid upon him.

Cry out.  Jesus cried out to God in the Garden of Gesthemene, he asked God that the cup might pass from him.  Ask him to help us also say, like Jesus, "But only if it is in your will to do so".  Ask God to give you a deep abiding hope - Jesus endured the suffering knowing that there was joy ahead, the redemption of mankind to God, the returning of the lost sons and daughters of God.

It is OK to try to find a way out of suffering too, we don't have to just lie down, Paul appealed to the authorities - to Caesar.  It is OK to try to escape from danger - as Paul did in that basket, as Moses did too in his own little basket.  But if the suffering still comes, if there seems no way out we can end up in despair, but don't.

God can turn the worst of circumstances around in the most amazing ways.

If Joseph hadn't upset his brothers by his dreams and his coat of many colours, he wouldn't have been thrown into the pit and then sold into slavery by his own brothers, if his brothers hadn't sold him into slavery he wouldn't have been taken to Egypt, if he hadn't been taken to Egypt he wouldn't have been falsely accused of attempted rape, if he hadn't been accused of attempted rape he wouldn't have been thrown in prison, if he hadn't been thrown in prison he wouldn't have interpreted the dreams of two men, if he hadn't interpreted the dreams of the two men he wouldn't have been brought to Pharoah to interpret his dream, if he hadn't interpreted Pharoah's dream, he wouldn't have been made governor.

There is more to the story of course, but here we see how a set of circumstances that Joseph's brothers meant for evil, which led to the most awful suffering, God turned around to good and Joseph's actions as governor ended up saving his family from famine and death.  Joseph must have felt in the deepest despair, how did his life that was once so wonderful turn out so badly? But God had plans for him beyond his wildest dreams.

Sometimes I feel a bit like Joseph.  Sold into slavery by my own brothers.  I was enslaved by a legalistic cultish Christianity for many years, and it was brethren who did that to me - fellow Christians.  Somehow that hurts more.

But what was meant for harm God will turn around for good. And he is doing.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 
~ Romans 8:28


Originally published on my old blog on 26/3/13 edited and published here 28/3/14.

5 comments:

  1. What a lovely and comforting post.

    I know in my own life that it is during times of trial that I really grow in my Christian walk.

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  2. It's so hard to wait on God's timing, and to let things progress while He works on us.

    I have learned through my life as a Christian, that when things are not going well for me, even though I may be miserable and scared, that I'm MEANT to be going through that, it's my time to shine, to overcome and to show God that I am worthy.

    It's not easy, but it's always doable and then I always come out on the other side happier and stronger :)

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  3. Michele - it is so true, we often don't see how much we have grown until afterwards.

    Sandra - it is so hard, I really really struggle with patience and with maintaining peace through a hard time. But you're right we come out on the other side happier - more content - and stronger.

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  4. Did you know the original word for Moses' basket and the Noah's ark was the same word?

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  5. Now I didn't know that. But not the same 'ark' as the Ark of the covenant?

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