I Would Not Know
I would not know the pleasure of relief if I did not know pain.
It is through the death of those we love that we grow to appreciate life.
I would not have tasted the heights of Joy if I had not known at least some of the depths of depression.
If I had not suffered I would not be able to share God’s comfort with those in suffering (2 Cor. 1:3-11, 4:16-18).
It is through suffering that we see more clearly. God opens our eyes. We see what we cannot see. We see the renewal and purpose that God accomplishes by our suffering.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:16-18)
It is through suffering that we are brought to the best and safest and most joyous place; on our knees before our God and Maker (Duet. 13:3, Ps. 16:11).
When you are suffering, look to God who has suffered more than we ever could. Look to the cross.
For The Joy
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:1-2, emphasis mine)
For the joy that was set before Him, He chose to endure a greater agony than we could ever suffer.
For the joy and glory set before us, for the daily renewal we find in His word, we can face our suffering as we cling to Christ.
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:15-16, emphasis mine)
He has been tempted in every way as we are and has suffered more than we ever could. He endured it all without sinning once. He knows what it’s like to suffer like we do and calls us to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Let Us Come
Let us come and fall on our knees before Him. Let us pour out our hearts with all the suffering and pain we have experienced. Let our broken hearts daily be renewed in His word.
Let us learn to forgive those who have wronged us and look to the one who has forgiven us more than we could ever forgive.
Let us cry out with the Psalmist:
“Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.
Selah” (Ps. 61:1-2)
Amen. Lead us to Christ, the Rock who is higher than we.
P.S. This post flowed out of one of the “Pondering The Principles” exercises in the first chapter of “Benefiting From Life’s Trials” by John MacArthur.
Photo by: https://unsplash.com/@aaronburden