Friday, 26 December 2014

Blessed are the suffering

There I was, walking in the blistering noon-day sun. My thoughts we're heavy, but not as heavy as my right leg which was gradually healing from a fracture. I was from church. I escaped the warm handshakes and hugs I'd receive from my friends to be alone. It is in those moments of solitude that the Spirit of God moves your soul into thought. The temperature was 30 degrees Celsius when I thought of Revelations 7:16 which depicts that great day when we shall be in heaven. It says, “Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them, nor any scorching heat." What a comforting thought it was. A glimpse of paradise. Though it didn't reduce the suns heat, it gave me strength to endure it. I believe every hard trial and experience has a lesson at the end; however much grief it brought you; or however trivial you think it. In this instant, endurance was the lesson.

Ladies and gentlemen, we live in a world full of pain and torments of many kinds. Some are self-inflicted. Some just happened. Others are the devils. However, If you are going through tough times and don't understand why then this article is for you. I'm not here to wave a magic wand and wish them away, but I'm here to tell you that you are EXTREMELY BLEST if you have problems. Sounds like a paradox doesn't it? Blessings and problems don't tango so well. AHA! They do! James 1:2-3 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

 Problems in the long run produce resilience. They produce a certain beauty of character that is priceless. Problems make you more Christ-like. Christ Himself was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. While the process of being sharpened may not feel so pleasant, the end result is glorious. Just as sand-paper polishes a sculpture, your problems are polishing you; not just for your glory but to the glory of God. Your refinement isn't just for you, it is so that you may help other people be refined also. You are blest if you have trouble, because in doing so, you are sharing in the same cup of suffering that Christ partook of to save the world. And if you share in Christ’s sufferings, then you shall share in His glory when He returns; a glory that lasts forever and neither rust nor moth can cause to decay. Only those who shared in Christ’s sufferings can truly understand the cost of Heaven; purchased at such a dear cost for a fallen race. One who has not suffered can easily take for granted sacred things. It is my belief that only those who have suffered can be close to Christ in the heavenly Kingdom. 1 Peter 4:13 says, “But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."

Brethren, in the consumerist world we are in, the idea of joy or relief has been hijacked to mean an abundance of things or power. Wealth doesn't mean happiness; evidenced by the number of rich but unhappy people; wealthy but lonely. I'm not demonizing the rich, I'm just saying that TRUE happiness isn't material; it is immaterial. Happiness is an inner peace and harmony that surpasses all understanding, as though the atmosphere of heaven is within you. It is when there is a balance in all spheres of your life. It is when you battle evil and succeed. It is in little triumphs and little blessings that we sometimes take for granted. It is when you have Christ within your heart that this joy in little things is experienced. Knowing Christ is the mountain top; the epitome of happiness; knowing that your soul, in this life and the next, is safely in the hands of the one who formed the world; the one who triumphed over all evil and trouble.

The Devil has not slept but has worked hard to further starve the spiritually hungry by producing false leads. But I'm glad we serve a God who is greater than the devil. We serve The Almighty; the one and only. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords who stretched out His hand and commanded the universe into existence. Fear not beloved. He who watches over you does not sleep nor slumber. He intends to nourish every soul that He brought into existence. My only question is this>>>

What your heart desires greatly defines who you are. Because thoughts become actions. Actions become habits and habits become character. Whatever your appetites are, I pray that they are inclined heavenward; so much that every action you perform here on Earth is carried out with Heaven in mind. Heaven is our goal as Christians, not worldly recognition and success. I'm not calling you to a mentality of poverty but I'm advising you on what is important and what isn't. Always strive to see yourself in heavens' eyes. Seek the approval of heaven and the owner of heaven more than you seek the approval of sinful, errant men. Surely, the potter’s approval is far more important than the approval of the pottery. 

Beloved reader, I also want you to know that suffering doesn't last forever. Your suffering is but for a short time compared to the relief you shall enjoy. The average lifespan of a human being is 80 under good circumstances. 120 years at most. Now think about this. What is 80 years compared to a millennium of health, wealth and prosperity? It is miniscule. It is minute. In Romans 8:18 Paul says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us”. You’d rather suffer a little while then spend eternity in paradise than live indulgently and selfishly in a cruel world then die eternally.

 I also want you to know that God is close to the suffering. God, in His pitying tenderness, is eager to show you mercy. Unlike the mythical, commercial Santa who only gives gifts to well-behaved children, God gives and forgives. He causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust; in the hope that the unjust may behold his goodness and turn from their wickedness.

I could read to you innumerable biblical examples of people that suffered before their exaltation. Joseph had to be sold as a slave by his own brothers, falsely accused of rape and thrown into prison before he became the prime minister of Egypt. David was looked down upon by his brothers because he was a mere shepherd boy; just before he brought down Goliath and later became the King. Abraham was thought a lunatic for listening to strangers and wandering into the desert; but he became the father of many nations. Jesus carried a 150kg cross on his back up a hill called Golgotha after being scourged and whipped thoroughly; and as he did, the very people he loved rejected him. They jeered and mocked the king of glory. He kept the faith and stayed the path to his foretold demise. He endured the blood, sweat and spit that was upon him to finish his mission like a brave soldier. 

Three days later, he resurrected to his heavenly throne. He is now the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and there is no other name through which man must be saved but through the name of Jesus Christ. He now reassures you in John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but cheer up. I have overcome the world.”

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