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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Yes, I Am Peculiar!


And the Lord has told me this. He took me in spite of all of my baggage. In fact, He accepted me because of my baggage. He told me I am beautiful and a peculiar treasure. I am blessed to be a part of His Body, and we are a chosen priesthood. (Exodus 19:5, 1Peter 2:9) 

A while back, I was told by someone that “Nobody cared” about me.  Though they were responsible for some of my suffering. It is the typical response for people who lack compassion. Their adage is, “The secret to success, is knowing who to blame.”

I felt the sting of that arrow, and I was not wearing my armor. The lie of the enemy had penetrated my heart. I was now isolated and withdrew from the Body. I was in deep despair, and I felt there was no one.

But something happened. In the midst of my anguish, the Lord reminded me, that I am not alone, and He cares. One day, as I was driving down the street near my home, I looked up; There it was. A billboard and the simple words, “I Care…God.” I knew He was giving me a message and I’m sure many others. So the man who had spoken those words to me was right. Nobody cared, but thank God, Somebody does! And He’s the only one who matters.

 He spoke tenderly to me and drew me back from all the pain that attempted to swallow me. He reminded me that if I am connected to His Body, that I will not suffer shame nor disgrace. (Isaiah 54: 4-8) He is my husband. 

I am so peculiar, that I have abandoned myself to Him and His ways. I believe what He tells me and I’ve experienced too much to put my trust in the world and it’s ways. I know everything He tells me is true. 

Yesterday, I felt fear come over me, as I was going to work. His voice softly speaking to me, “Have I ever let you down? Do you think I am not powerful enough to hold you up?” “No Lord, I have seen miraculous works in my life by the power of your hands, and I will not sin against you by entertaining doubt and unbelief.” I read a quote by Mother Theresa, and I laughed, as it spoke of my own experience. “I know He doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle,I just wish He didn’t trust me so much!” 

I had flown with a woman who was terrified to sit down and even in the turbulence, she came back to hold the hands of a flying partner. She shared  that she had been on a flight that had encountered severe turbulence, and she was terrified. This was the flight that I was supposed to work a few weeks ago. As we comforted her, I said a prayer, that the Lord would bring her peace. He had once again, reminded me, that He was watching over me, and I could reach out for Him at any time. 

My faith had grown in the desert experience. Of course faith cannot grow, except through suffering. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence, of things unseen. And we are told all that we need is a mustard seed. I carried mustard seeds around in a jar, to remind me of this, when I was feeling extremely fearful. I would look at the tiny seed, and say, “I know I have that much!” The Lord would tell me to step out, and He would do the rest. I’ve learned that faith isn’t going to grow, unless you exercise it. He has never let me down. 

So when you read my posts or hear me speak, and you have an inclination to believe, this woman is crazy. Just remember, I am very peculiar. But I am so blessed to be His peculiar treasure. And to be a part of the growing crowd. We are all pressing in, to Him. Just as the crowds pressed Him, everywhere He walked.

It is our calling to bring the Good News, to those who are in darkness. So they may become part of His Body too. “When men are brought low and you say, “Lift them up!” Then He will save the downcast. He will deliver even one who is not innocent, who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.” (Job 22:29) 

Look closely at His body and His beauty. How could you not want to be peculiar too?