The Joy Of Sorrow & Suffering
Let’s be frank and direct. Sorrow and Suffering are a part of life. You can never escape it. It is not ‘if it occurs’, but ‘when will it occur.’
Jesus speaks of it in John 16:33 – “These things I have spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”. So you need to just accept it. Then you can prepare your mind for Jesus to take you out of and through your trial.
You will then be rejoicing, accepting, and embracing Sorrow and Suffering. Yes, you will embrace them even if you may not see the truth now. You will accept them easier the next times trials and tribulations come. This is only the reality of the Christian life. This definitely is no fantasyland.
The Holy Spirit will reveal to you the depths of the following of Paul’s writings:
1. Philippians 4:11-13 – “…for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheth me”. (Reckon that Paul wrote this chained to a stake from a stench-filled, unsanitary, rodent-infested prison. Yet, he learned to be content – only by the grace of God. Remarkable!)
2. II Corinthians 12:7-10 – “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong”. (Do you see God permitting your trial? Can you embrace your Sorrow and Suffering as Paul did? So then the glory, strength, and grace of God can rest on you and grow through you. Excellent questions!)
Of course, it is not easy. This is not positive thinking. It involves a DAILY appropriation by faith that Jesus in you will do and complete the work. I know from personal experience how difficult it is. It truly involves total abandonment to divine providence. I frequently retreated into the Wilderness of Self-Pity for 17 years. I attempted to avoid Sorrow and Suffering at all costs.
Today, however, I view Sorrow and Suffering very differently. I frequently continue to struggle to learn to embrace Sorrow and Suffering. However, after I fall, I rise quickly and keep moving forward on the narrow road. Proverbs 24:16 – “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again”.
You cannot go backward on the road to Egypt. So keep going forward and keep your wilderness deterrents as minimal as possible. You will be thoroughly convinced that Jesus can be experienced every moment of every day in every trial. His perfect love will drive out every fear. I John 4:18-19 – “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love Him, because He first loved us”.
A common question raised during intense trials and tribulations is “Why me?”. This is an excellent question. However, I challenge you to think differently and to use a different approach.
Can you honestly ask yourself, “Why NOT me?” Yes, why not you? Our Savior gave His entire life for you. Your salvation is based upon what He did and is doing. He suffered more beyond everyone’s suffering together can compare.
I challenge you to begin taking your eyes off your trials and putting them onto Jesus. God initiated your salvation. He could have just remained in heaven leaving us to ourselves, all condemned to hell because no true spiritual life exists in us. God could have said, “Boys will be boys. Just try harder next time.” How much audacity does one have to still gripe and complain about a little inconvenience trial when our Lord sacrificed His entire life as a man to give you His entire life as God?
You will be transformed into the glory of God. Jesus will clearly be seen visibly in you and through you. Your Much-Afraid will now be named Grace and Glory. Your Sorrow and Suffering traveling companions will now be named Joy and Peace. The pure and perfect love of Jesus literally transforms you day by day into His glory – the glory of a resurrected, abundant life. You now become a physical, visible expression of an invisible, living God – God put back in the man through Christ in you. People will now only see Jesus in you. They will see His fruit produced through you. You will, very naturally, give all credit to Jesus, your vine. You will now begin to live high above your trials and tribulations and circumstances.
Enjoy the narrow journey. It is exciting, outstanding, marvelous, superb, and outstanding. All because JESUS is the road.