Suffering…To Endure or Embrace?

By November 9, 2012General

They Seemed Normal…

They were new to our small group. They seemed normal enough….about our age. Their kids played with my kids. We ate snacks together. We laughed.

They smiled as if they didn’t have a care in the world.

Their smiles lied.

“Would you pray for our friend ”Sam“? He was arrested last month and his family is very worried about him. We are also worried because we don’t know how much he will tell the police…”

They seemed normal, but they weren’t. They were missionaries to a place where being a missionary means risking more than ridicule, where suffering for Jesus is deeper than not being able to pray in school.

The Presence of Heroes

They told us how they avoid surveillance cameras on their way to the small group meeting they host for others believers. They told us what it cost them to follow God there. They told us about the cultural challenges and the constant battle against fear.

And the craziest thing? They were on furlough. They were going back.

It’s one thing to endure hardship and a potentially fearful situation. It’s another to leave that place, be immersed in the comfort and security of home…and then go back.

I truly felt that I was in the presence of heroes. They had a perspective that left no room for the petty complaints I lodge every day. Their lives placed little value on fairness or comfort. They only had space in their hearts for doing and pursuing what was right.

Beauty for Ashes

Perhaps suffering and hardship aren’t things to be avoided or endured, but embraced. Like a runner trains for a race.

Perhaps dealing with suffering isn’t about changing our perspective but challenging our endurance. Jogging mile for one person is hard and yet for another it is easy. The latter has simply practiced.

So whether our suffering is answering “Why Mommy?” One – More – Time, or if it is laying down our lives for others, let’s embrace the training we are in and allow it to transform us, build us, and reflect His Grace in our lives.

“But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s suffering, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:13

Together…

There are no small trials, only wasted ones. What in your life can you embrace and learn from today? How can we pray for you?

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Comments

8 Comments

  • Avatar Stephanie says:

    Wow – this really puts our freedoms we take for granted into perspective! We are so blessed to be able to worship freely- how many times have I taken that for granted?

  • Avatar His Daughter says:

    While I fully realize this is a first world problem, but it is the problem the Lord has burdened me to carry right now.

    I am choosing to embrace my husband, with all of his faults, all of his poor choices, all of his addictions, and continue to choose loving him in spite of my pride and instinct to run in the other direction. I know marriage is not about two people making each other happy, but the Lord’s way of teaching us to be holy. I am in training with high hopes for both of us. Hopes for him to see Christ’s love in me and want what I have: freedom. And in the meantime, I hope to be transformed, rebuilt, and become more my like my Savior.

  • Avatar Stacie says:

    I love the persecuted church. I pray for them so much. They are risking their lives for the joy of following our Christ. It puts our lives and our problems in perspecitve. Thank you for remember them too! I will continue to pray for these sweet people to have the courage and boldness to keep witnessing for the Kingdom.

  • Avatar jennifer says:

    love this! thank you for sharing your heart and for the challenge.
    especially loved the line, “Perhaps dealing with suffering isn’t about changing our perspective but challenging our endurance”.
    yes, life is all about endurance… and perspective. when we put them in the right order, it helps us to run the race well.
    may i/we never grow weary in the small (& big) trials.
    from the east side, with a grateful heart…

  • Avatar Denise says:

    Thank you for that article. My trials are small, yet manage to overwhelm me. Worries over teenagers working late, my inability to be the godly woman I want to be and accomplish all that I think I should. These things I need to embrace, “count it all joy”, knowing that God is allowing them for my sanctification, driving me to Christ.

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