Rejoice In Your Suffering


Don't Be Afraid

Don’t Be Afraid

I was reading an article this morning and it made me realize that we do all have a choice in our suffering. We have a choice to let it define us, or to move forward with learning.In fact scriptures tell us to “Rejoice in our suffering.” I would barely be able to grasp this concept, except I am reminded of things in my past which have brought me to this place today. All the battles have been to grow me for the things which the Lord has prepared in advance.We all have a destiny in this life. A mission. It is living with purpose and growing in wisdom. To accept the call is only the beginning. That does not mean life will become easier. In fact, it’s usually the opposite.

 The only thing which brings some element of comfort, is the knowing that we are a vessel prepared for our Lord’s use. And He has the master plan. He promises that “all of these things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

 Years ago, I was in the midst of warfare. I was at the breaking point. I had experienced fear. I was thrust into the streets of London with bombs exploding. Having strayed from my faith, I had forgotten that my heavenly Father is my protection.I had many things happening in my personal life, and then this was the final straw. I had suffered Post Traumatic Stress. I began losing weight and losing my hair. I was terrified to go to work and at times, I just wanted to curl up and fade away.

 Reading this article made me think about the things which are important. Of the greatest importance, I had to list my suffering. Yes, that’s right. The article mentioned the term, “Post Traumatic Growth.”For this is the outcome, if we choose to allow this to be our stepping stone. A few years later, I had taken a trip to Israel. I went in an armored vehicle to the place of the first altar. I shared this with a friend, and she said, “I wouldn’t have put money on this adventure of yours. I would have never imagined you doing this.”Yes, after she’d seen me in my most vulnerable state, and now this voluntary experience, she was amazed.But then, I had become firmly planted in my faith, and now I knew that live or die, I am in the Lord’s hands

. As ambassadors for Christ,  we have a commission, to go into the world. We cannot do this, when we are running in terror. But more specifically, we are commissioned to the people which the Lord has surrounded us with. Our families, friends. They are not an accident. If we say we believe in our Lord, and His calling, we must know that there is no coincidence.He revealed the picture of Himself on the cross. With His dying words he told John to take His mother to be his own. And His mother to take John to be her son. John faithfully cared for Mary until her death. In this picture, our Lord wanted us to understand a very powerful message. Knowing these to be words uttered by a dying man, He showed us that it is not flesh and blood which make us family. It is knowing that we need Him and accepting His blood at the foot of the cross. This is what makes us one. His body, unbroken. There is absolutely no division in the body of Christ.

 The very people you have been commissioned to, may persecute you.  But this is why our Lord also said, “He did not come to this world to bring peace, but a sword.” And clearly tells us this sword, which is truth, would divide family members.He has reminded me, that it is not our place to defend ourselves against accusations. As the accusations come from darkness. We do not return evil for evil. The Lord stands as our defense. Though rejection and persecution hurts. He had experienced this too.

 Remember our Lord as He looked over the city of Jerusalem and spoke, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you. How often I have longed to gather your children as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37 I was reminding my son the other day that the Lord had felt as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. So much anguish that He had droplets of blood fall from His forehead. “Imagine this,” I said. “Our Lord was also a man. And even He was afraid.” I told Him that I had seen this stone in a church in Israel. I touched it with many others who longed to imagine that fateful night and the despair He must have felt. The prayers so heart wrenching, as to sweat blood.I told my son, “Christ could see what He wa about to endure. The beating He would take. The whips and crown of thorns. And finally the cross. And He felt enough fear to express this to the Father. He asked that the cup of suffering be removed.  But He also knew it was necessary, to finally concede, “Not my will but thine be done.”  Our Lord also knew the final outcome. “For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross.

I was trying to help him understand that in our pleas to the Father, it is not for our wants, so much as it is for His wants. He wants us to turn to Him in every detail of our life. He wants us to become fit for His use. He knows that suffering is what “produces a harvest of righteousness.” So knowing this, I don’t want the easy way out. I want, The Way, The Truth and The Life. This is my choice. Whatever comes my way, I know it has come from the Father’s hands.

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