7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you. – 2 Corinthians 4:7-12
Funny, I have just finished listening to an audio book and, subsequently, started a new one. The former ended in reminding us readers that we are to carry our cross DAILY and to endure the sufferings for they bring God glory if we allow it. The latter began on this same subject. Suffering, enduring and living in Christ’s name. Allowing all we go through to bring Him glory.
I found my thoughts drifting in two directions….first I was thinking, do I really suffer for Christ? I am a spoiled American girl. Sure, I have struggled in various ways, I have endured spiritual, physical and emotional pain. I have wondered how to make ends meet. Do these count? How am I bringing Him glory in these things?
My second train of thought was that no matter what country we live in, not matter how our culture is, Jesus tells us to live differently. That definitely applies to me. I often think how difficult it is for believers in other parts of this vast world. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have my tongue cut out of my mouth for speaking God’s truth. This is not something that should make me discount my life. I am called to live differently too. I am called to go against the grain and love, share and support when society tells me to hate, hoard and abandon. I am to make a difference in the place God has set me in.
Lastly, I endured a weekend that was quite difficult in both an emotional and a spiritual way. At the end of Sunday night I was asking Jesus to just take me away. I no longer wanted to endure the trial I was in. I wanted Him to take it away. Why? Why do I have to be in this? That was my question.
Today, a friend told me to read a section of a book she reads each morning and I realized that I am suffering for Christ. I am enduring difficult times and different attacks for His glory. I have seen how He has been working and will continue to do so if I can keep my side of the bargain, look to Him for peace and give Him the glory.
The section read:
BE PREPARED TO SUFFER FOR ME, in my Name. All suffering has meaning in MY kingdom. Pain and problems are opportunities to demonstrate your trust in Me. Bearing your circumstances bravely – even thanking Me for them- is one of the highest forms of praise. This sacrifice of thanksgiving rings golden-toned bells of Joy throughout heavenly realms. On earth also, your patient suffering sends out ripples of good tidings in ever-widening circles…
So today I see that this is what He means for me to endure and I am NOT to compare it to what others are enduring. I am important. I play a vital role in God’s kingdom and am making a difference in ways I am meant to. I am loved and happily endure the stressors of this life for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I will not be discouraged today. I will continue to live in His light and accept the peace only He can provide.
I choose to die to self and live for you Jesus.
In His grace and glory I wish these things for you as well.