Saturday, July 19, 2014

Joyous Suffering

It's a word that you cannot say while smiling.
It's a word that leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
It's a word that you don't often here in America.
It's a word that you hear even less from Christians in America.
It's what I have been studying lately.
Is it a reality for New Covenant Believers?
Is it avoidable?
Is it a sign of righteousness?
Is it proof of humility?
Is it a Biblically sound doctrine?
Does it make you a better Christian?
Does it make you love Jesus more?
Is it worth it?

Who the heck knows?!
Because of all of this and some recent circumstances, I have began to tear apart the Word with the Holy Spirit, my Teacher.

I have shared bits and pieces with a couple good friends and have gotten varying opinions on the subject. Each friend's opinions have been encouraging, However, my friends are not the Holy Spirit. My friends are not perfect. My friends, as well versed and experienced as they may be cannot give me absolute truth on the subject. Only the Holy Spirit, the interpreter of the Word, can give me absolute truth. It doesn't matter how convincing someone's argument one way or another might be; if I am not certain that I have heard from the Lord on a matter and have made the truth my own, when things get rocky, I will sway and stumble.

I sit here tonight sorting through what I know to be true about God, life, His voice, my identity. And right smack dab in the middle of it all is this towering thing that seems to be unaffected by good effort or pleasant thoughts. This thing is the cause of much pain and struggle in my life.

Honestly, I was going to share all of the cool things that I have been discovering in the Word relating to this. All the fun Greek and Hebrew words and meanings that I love so much, along with all the cross references that I have gone back and forth, making this beautiful, complex web between. But at this moment, the only thing I feel pressing to say has nothing to do with all I have "learned" about suffering. It has nothing to do with answering any of the above questions. It has nothing to do with comparing "suffering" in the American Christian culture to the suffering (religious, political, and economical) I have observed all around the globe.

The only thing I feel pressed to say is this:

My "suffering", the hurt, ache, longing, situation, as it is, has led me to one thing... it is an experience I will never be able to have again after I die.
Once I am gone from this life, I will never feel the ache of pain or suffering ever again. I will not cry. I will not mourn, I will not be angry with God ever again.

Suffering is an experience we only get to have on this side of eternity as believers. 

I take courage and joy in that fact.

Not joy because there will be no more suffering (while that is something to be joyous about).
I take joy because this is an experience, a emotion, that the Father has created me to be able to experience here and now. Jesus felt it. God feels it. God suffers in deep emotional pain daily as He sees His children live their lives outside of Love.
God created me to be able to experience this deep emotion with Him. If He feels it, I want to feel it too.
I want to sit with the Father in the weeping room.
I want to tarry with Him in the hours of darkness, realizing that even in the darkest dark, He is the brightest light.

If He didn't think suffering was worth it, He wouldn't have created our hearts with the ability to feel this emotion.
There is a part of my suffering that the Father is glorying in. No, He is glorying in my suffering.
And I wear the crown of one who suffers well.

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