SUFFERING


By Amanda Malone

Amanda is a student leader at The University of Oklahoma and possesses a passion for prayer and the people of Nepa

We desperately long and pray that we may be people who glorify Jesus, but are we willing to submit to the means that God has chosen to use in order to accomplish this in our lives?

Paul wrote,

“I count all things loss…that I might know [Jesus] and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:10-11)

I heard a man speak on brokenness a few weeks ago, and this question has been on my mind since then. Every time that I hear this sixty-year-old follower of Jesus talk, my heart burns to know Jesus more.

This particular evening, I found myself praying, “Jesus, I long to make you look beautiful like this when I speak of you. May the words that I say and the things that I do cause the hearts of those who hear hunger to know and obey you more”.

I have prayed this frequently, as I am sure most of us have. But this time was different.

As I continued to ask God that He would bless me in this way, the man began to tell us about a part of his life which I had previously been unaware of. With tears in his eyes, He shared with us about the death of one of his daughters.

It became obvious that this had happened several years back, yet the grief in this loving father’s eyes seemed to indicate that it happened only the day before. As I sat there, somewhat shocked, Jesus continued to speak to me.

The reason that this man is able to glorify Jesus in this way has nothing to do with his manner of speaking, or even his understanding of profound Biblical truths. It has everything to do with the fact that he has continually surrendered to Jesus in the face of circumstances that he cannot understand.

Instead of hardening his heart and doubting God’s goodness, he has been enabled to trust, believing that these circumstances are the means that Jesus has chosen to reveal Himself.

How vital it is that we learn to submit to whatever means that Jesus chooses to use to reveal Himself in our lives! Often, we forget that God desires to purify us more than we ever could. Consequently, we get frustrated when He surrounds us with people that we find difficult to love.

We begin to question God’s goodness when relationships in our life do not progress the way we expect them to. We panic, thinking that God has forgotten about us if He does not give us answers at the moment we feel that we most need them.

We ask Jesus to make us more like Him. We beg Him to purify us and make us look beautiful that people might see how valuable He is. Yet we so easily become frustrated and disheartened when circumstances we cannot make sense of take place in our lives.

However, the situations that we tend to dread and despise the most are the very tools that God uses to reveal His beauty in and through our lives. These circumstances are the means that God has chosen.

Isaiah predicted that,

“Out of the anguish of his soul [Jesus] shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous….” (Isaiah 53:11)

If Jesus would have refused to submit to pain and anguish, He never would have been raised from the dead. May our Father give us grace to trust His heart and surrender to whatever means He chooses to use in our lives to bring glory to Jesus.

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