Monday, August 3, 2009

Suffering

A former parishioner and still-brother in Christ, now a desperado hiding out somewhere in the Southwest, was stirred up to pray for me about a week ago. His accuracy about my spiritual need was so specific that it was clearly given by the Holy Spirit.

Today, the same guy found an email I'd sent him five months ago. He sent it along - it has some things I need to pray over and I hope that by sharing it some of you will find something personal from God as well.

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Due to a crazy schedule this a.m., I am up at a weird hour doing some laundry, but also prayers. I'm praying for you!

This path of suffering can be such a drag. I don't like to rattle off
easy answers, because there are several possible reasons that the Lord
allows his own to suffer:

He can be making us ready for greater glory, as in Romans 8:17


He can be pressing us to try a solution that our pride might resist,
as in I Corinthians 10:13

He can be wearing down our "outer nature" so that our inner man can be
built up, as in II Corinthians 4:16-17

He can be giving us an opportunity to rejoice through sharing his
earthly weaknesses, as in Acts 5:41

He can be preparing us to receive greater comfort, II Corinthians 1:5

He can use our sufferings to build up other Christians, Ephesians 3:13

He can use our sufferings to make us more like him, Philippians 3:10

He can use our sufferings to spread the Gospel, II Timothy 1:8

He can use our sufferings to open our hearts to the suffering of other
Christians, Hebrews 13:3

He can use it to bring out fruit of the Spirit, such as patience, James 5:7-8

He can allow suffering as a scourge to make us repent of some evil, Revelation 2:22


With all these possibilities in the New Testament itself, I would be
vain to say "this is why _____ is suffering right now." I know that in
my case, God has used suffering to purify my motives, to make more more
loving of others on the Bible's terms, to build my character as a
Christian and now to give me greater joy in his love (Romans 5:3-5).

I will certainly pray for your healing and comfort, but most of all
that he will quickly show you what he wants you to know. He wants you
to know something more glorious and joyful about who he is - I will
pray that this come to you soon.

3 comments:

Karen said...

Tim+
This is very timely for me today. I am leading a city prayer meeting here tonight, and this will do very nicely for a devotional.

You know my circumstances and that the community I'm part of has been undergoing a real time of grief and trial.

This fits in well with much of what the Lord has been challenging me about re: different purposes of suffering, and I believe my friends and colleagues will profit from it too.

Romans 5:1-5 is very much on my heart and mind lately, so it was interesting that your friend closed with a mention of that passage.

Blessings,
Karen

TLF+ said...

Karen, I had a feeling that this post would be of help somewhere. Thanks and glory be to God!

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Jessica
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