Originally published Friday, 26 February 2016.
Suffering stinks. It is hard stuff. There is no two ways about it. It brings tears, it surfaces pain and it hurts - bad. It feels torturous...like being one wrung dry. Twisted, squeezed and stuck.
Ever felt so tightly squeezed by pain, you'd do nearly anything to relieve the pressure?
I have. It's at this point that I try to fix, finagle and figure my way out. What I normally finagle my way into is a greater mess with higher levels of stress.
But, what if Christ had a different way for me?
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. (1 Pet. 4:1)
Have the same attitude as Christ in suffering?! This verse nearly knocks me off my rocker! It nearly makes me choke on the coffee I am downing right now. It halts me...
But it is true...
I can walk strongly and confidently to my Calvary Hill,
because it means I am walking strongly and confidently to
less of me and more of him,
less flesh and more life
and less world and more eternity.
Walk into pain with an attitude of gain, because Jesus Christ already gained everything. There is nothing else to lose.
Do you need to change your attitude on pain - and exchange it for the view of gain?
20 Reasons Why You Can Delight in your Suffering:
1. Our earthly troubles bring eternal glory. (2 Cor. 4:17)
2. Our hearts draw near in the face of great fear.
3. We find a training ground for a breaking down of self and a restoring ground of God.
4. There's a deep search for Christ - and we find him.
5. Spiritual things take precedence over demanded things.
6. God's glory shines through the darkness of a buzzed world.
7. Comfort comes close, then we learn to extend that same comfort to others (2 Cor. 1:3-4)
8. God restores, making us "strong, firm and steadfast." (1 Pet. 5:10)
9. We encounter a great God deliverance. (Ps. 34:19)
10. When become less, Christ more. (John 3:30)
11. In our weakness, Christ power activates in us. (2 Cor. 12:9)
12. Grace becomes all-sufficient to get us through. (2 Cor. 12:9)
13. Our current pain is brings Christ-like gain; we reflect him more.
14. We are blessed. (1 Pet. 3:14)
15. We suffer with Christ; we learn to understand his love for us more. (Phil. 1:29)
16. We become like Christ in death - and ultimately in life. (Phil. 3:10)
17. We lose our life, but we end up finding it. (Mt. 10:39)
18. We come to depend on the Word of God. (Deut. 8:3)
19. We learn that life is more than earth and God more than the worldly things we want.
20. We get a chance to see prayer work out God's good and perfect will in our life. (Lu. 22:42)
When I look at this list, I can see an attitude shift in me. Sure, I am being wrung out, but it's all about retraining; it's not a mission in paining. It is all about beholding beauty; it's not about staying stuck in futility. It is all about developing spiritual sight that sees beyond the constant fight.
God is constantly chasing us, to push us into greater. The push may hurt, but sometimes the push is exactly what is needed to get the bird to fly. And, when we do, we finally see why.
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