“If we cannot, in the light of the reality of eternity, face the issue of suffering well, with full hope and trust in God, understanding His purpose in it and that it is good because He is good, how will the rest of the world learn to suffer?” ~T.Klicka
Thinking about suffering and what my response to it should be in light of the truth of the gospel
For those of you who didn’t read my last entry, to start this one by sharing, “God has answered your prayers!” is completely lost on you. Yet for those who have been praying, I just want to say “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
I am convinced that the more we live in community with other belivers, and allow the body of Christ into our lives that we might share one another’s burdens, the more God’s glory will be magnified in our eyes. He has done this for me this week by in His mercy giving me sweet moments with the children, and opportunities for them to hear my heart for them.
Yesterday was my John’s 12th birthday, his double golden birthday–being 12 on 12/12! We have always let our kids pick out a special birthday meal, and this year I let John also choose something he wanted to do for the day. So he chose to go to a waterpark (since we are in Orlando this week–and went down their 55 mile-per-hour tallest waterslide in the world SEVEN times!!!) and picked out a Thai restaurant for dinner (imagine a 12-yr.-old asking for Thai food for his birthday!)
I got so many hugs, kisses, and “I love you, Mom”s that it almost erased every bit of sadness over yesterday also being the 2nd month anniversary since Chris’ death…almost.
I know all the kids, especially John (being his first birthday without him) were missing their daddy yesterday, but it comforted my heart when John said to me yesterday afternoon that it was his “best birthday ‘party’ ever!”
The generous gifts of friends made yesterday possible, as well as our week-long stay in a condo. God is so kind and our hearts are made lighter by having this time away this month.
I’ve been thinking a lot about suffering lately–reading about it, listening to sermons (Alistair Begg and John Piper). God is certainly not silent on this topic. Not only does He ordain suffering, His allowing suffering in the lives of His people is full of purpose. How easy it is for me to forget!
Daily and for many years I have been challenged to remember that those who put their trust in Him, He gives Himself, the comfort of His love and presence, and the assurance (even though we see through a glass dimly) that “this momentary, light affliction” is for our good. He is “for us” in Christ Jesus!
For those who are hurting right now, wondering how suffering can ever be “for our good”, or just longing for a greater sense that God is right there with you, I invite you to listen to Alistair Begg’s sermon series on Ecclesiastes.
The Lord used this one series to encourage me to see His love and purpose in my life more than any other teaching I’ve heard in a long time. I think I cried through every sermon, worshiping a God who loves me in such an intimate, intentional, unconditional way! Thank you, Alistair Begg!
I routinely gave CDs of sermons to Chris this past year, as it was definitely the hardest year of his life. How he needed to hear gospel truth on a daily basis. God was encouraging him through great hardship so that he might encourage others in the midst of suffering this year as he traveled to five homeschool conventions this past spring.
Chris also needed to be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ in preparation to leave this world and enter into his heavenly rest. This was not easy for him. Chris felt God’s daily strength to “keep on keeping on” (most of the time); yet, he also longed to go Home and be free of the pain of this life and be with his Savior Jesus.
It was the journey between A and B that was so difficult for him. The transition from living in this life in MS-ruled body and living in heaven in his new body was something Chris continually struggled with. It was God’s mercy that the transition time, then, lasted only three weeks. How I praise God for His mercy!
For those of you who are looking for encouragement in the gospel for the journey, I’ve posted some additional resources from Alistair Begg and John Piper on the topic of suffering:
Five Sermons on Suffering, by John Piper
Why Suffering?, by Alistair Begg
Suffering in the Believer’s Life, By Alistair Begg
Why We can Rejoice in Suffering, by John Piper
Suffering as a Christian, by Alistair Begg
May the Lord lift up your hearts, dear brothers and sisters who are in the fellowship of His suffering!
“God doesn’t waste one drop of my suffering; as every drop of Christ’s blood shed for me pleaded effectually for my pardon; now my “drops” of suffering lead me straight to my Father–to see His sufficiency for my need–His mercy, His kindness, His forgiveness, His instruction, His love–for my good and His glory.” ~T.Klicka
Rest in Jesus this night, for He is good…all the time,