Sunday, September 30, 2007

Suffering

A couple of nights ago I was praying over P as I was tucking him in. As I begged God for His Hand of protection to be over my son I felt a tinge of conviction. I thought back to the fundamentals of my Christian beliefs. God created us for His Glory, not our protection. I thought about Copeland Farley and the powerful purpose of her life...a story that literally reached thousands despite the fact she only lived 8 days. Theoretically, my greatest hope for my children is that their lives honor and glorify God. Selfishly, protectively, naturally I pray that involves as little pain as possible. Yet, I am aware of the countless stories of good, solid, God fearing people whose lives have much pain.

I think of my own life story. The defining chapters have been the times of absolute heartbreak, confronting fear head on, struggling to put one foot in front of the other. These were the times when it was clear that despite the world's attempts to tell us otherwise NONE OF US are in control of our own destiny. In retrospect, those events, my story, are the only platform I have.

Last week our neighbors discovered that their young daughter has a mass on her collarbone. It will be biopsied next week, but there is 50% chance it is a malignant tumor that will require radiation and surgery. This family is comprised of some of the neatest, truest, committed folks I know. Needless to say, I am chewing through the problem of suffering.

God knew I needed a word I suppose, because this morning I heard the most powerful sermon I have ever heard. Louie Giglio preached at Buckhead Church on hope in the midst of suffering. His bottomline was that suffering WILL come in this life, but that it is not our master--- it is our megaphone. Suffering, Louie asserted, is the megaphone that broadcasts our life's message. Read that again. Suffering is the megaphone that broadcasts our life's message. Anyone can proclaim to be faithful when everything is going their way, but the rubber meets the road when things get rocky. What message will your life shout when things get difficult?

Severe trials will reveal what we worship. Will the inevitable suffering that life brings lead me to resent God because He has disrupted my comfortable, storybook life or will it lead me to cling to Him more tightly because I know that He is Sovereign and has a holy, perfect will even when it means my discomfort?

Do not misunderstand me. I am scared to even publish this post because I don't want it to seem I am asking for trouble. I cannot bear the thought of those I love dearly being hurt. I do hope this is not a road I will have to endure. But only God knows what is in store. I pray that my life's message can be truly, authentically: To God be the Glory. No matter what curveballs life throws our way.

I have a lot to ponder this afternoon.

"I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world."
John 16:33
The Message

8 comments:

Barbie@ Mamaology said...

Beautiful post.

Lyric said...

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

C.S. Lewis

Thank you for this post.

Stacey Tate said...

Beautiful post. I have often said that I have been blessed with instances that bring me to my knees so I can experience the true loving nature of God and his Son, Jesus Christ.

cochran_ja said...

I also heard Louie speak this morning. (If you didn't hear part one it is just as powerful; but required a few more tissues than today!). I wanted to let you know that I have been a follower of your blog for a very long time and have only made a few comments. I am always inspired by your thoughts and love to hear what your kids have to say. I was tickeled this morning when I saw you ushering 2 of your 3 into the bathroom at church. Thank you for continuing to post and be so open and honest. Please know that you are an inspiration to me.
Jaime (cochran_ja@yahoo.com)

Garden Market said...

It was great to see you & your family today at church! The words Louie spoke have been ringing in my heart all day - I feel the emotion of your post & agree with it whole heartedly. And what an amazing place to grow. It's so good to "keep up with you" through your blog - such a ministry to so many!
Davis

Jacob and Andi said...

This is a struggle for me, too.

And I also struggle with the concept of being willing to give up EVERYTHING for Christ. Material things I have no qualms about. But my family is harder to say that about. It's so much harder to risk your family. Would I be willing to die for Christ- absolutely. Would I want Sophie to- spiritually I want to say yes, but my flesh says not a chance.

Our ability to love, I think, sometimes gets in our way of total sacrafice. Could I really be like Abraham and even attempt to give up my child for God's plans? Why is it so hard to trust him in this area when it is so easy to give him the rest of my life?

Sorry for the length comment, and thanks for the ponder.

Sun said...

I was just talking to my husband about this...mostly from watching and reading about little Copeland and Ashley Adams - watching them suffer and fight and their family to pray and cry out to God. This post speaks to what my heart cries out - thank you for the link to the sermon and to the devotion from Elizabeth Eliot...I love your blog. I too pray over my three for God to spare them the suffering that others are walking through - but ultimately I want them to cry out to Him - live for Him - glorify Him...thank you for being real and for writing from your heart to minister to others. Sunshine

Nicole said...

This very thought first formed in my mind since the awful night four years ago when I lost our precious daughter at a crowded outdoor festival for entirely too long, then returned home with her in tears only to get a call that my nephew had been in a wreck with his best friend who was killed. And gradually, through other things, most recently Ashley's Story (who is my niece), I feel like God has been showing me even more about what it all means. (Though I assume it will be a lifelong lesson, as I tend to forget most when it is ME who is directly in the trial.) I just read back through your blog from your post about why you blog through this one and I want you to know (because too much potential encouragement goes unspoken) that I started my blog primarily to be a place to pass on what I learn to my children, for their learning - so that hopefully they at least make fewer and different mistakes than me. But I too found the fellowship of blogging to be such a sweet unexpected humongous blessing also. And this is the truth: There have been too many of YOUR posts I would also like to point them to. When the time comes, I want them to read not only my own blog about the people they know and share their lives with, but I will point them to yours as well, because there is a lot of (hard-earned) wisdom here. Thank you J.! (And yes, I most likely would have been too afraid to say that IRL, but I mean every word!)