I have been going through my diaries from the past six years on the mission field and writing down lessons I've learned and what I consider highlights from my journal writings.
I wrote the following during Jerard's fourth hospitalization......
Christ is our glorious intruder. And when He intrudes, may I humbly see it as glorious. He is in the chaos of life. He is in the trials and heartaches. "He encroaches, presumes, invades and infringes. He crashes the party, tears aside curtains, throws open locked doors. He hits the light switch in a dark room...God is a glorious intruder in my life, in my thoughts, my pain, sorrow, and brokenness...His Apirit invades me...He boldly intrudes into my sin, brashly calling it what it is, challenging me to
leave it behind. What can we do but marvel at our powerful
and Almighty God - who, really, has every right to intrude. Can the owner of the house really "intrude" when he sets foot inside his own door? Can a king be tabbed "interfering" when he visits his subjects of his own realm? Can a crafts man be a "trespasser" when he wraps his fingers around his own stick of wood?" (Glorious Intruder, Joni Eareckson Tada, Multnomah, 1989, 15-16)
I thank God for writers like Joni Eareckson Tada, JI Packer, Carolyn James, Dan Allendar....all fellow travelers on the glorious path of suffering that each of us as heirs of Christ are called to travel. They are so good at putting into words what Christ is showing me. There is a wonderful, inexplicable participation in the life and power of Jesus when we suffer. We can have joy and comfort as we travel in this fellowship of suffering. Christ endured his suffering "for the joy set before Him" (Heb 12:2) so that we can have joy and comfort IN our sufferings. We have a host of believers who are already in heaven cheering us on.
Yes, in the midst of pain it may feel like we are alone but at the darkest times Christ works His greatest work in our lives and we must remember we are in a fellowship - a fellowship of sufferers.
Job, at the beginning of his trials, understood the wisdom of quiet submission to the secret will of God.
"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord..." Job 1:21
There are times in the midst of trial I, like Job, wonder why God ever allowed me to be born. And it is ok to vent frustration and anger. What needs to be understood is that Christ, as our gentle shepherd, leads each of us on the path He has chosen. The path can lead through valleys deep and dark, full of pain, tumult, confusion, chaos and also the path can be restful. There are seasons it seems for the dark and the rest....just as in nature there are seasons. God has a rythym and order to all He designs. But no matter where the path is leading the main thing is to keep my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen and Amen.
I don't even pray anymore for the sufferings to end. I don't want to get short-changed on lessons Christ has for me to learn. As much as I hate sitting in this hospital room, if there's a lesson for me to learn here, then let me learn it.
"Jesus has no tenderness toward anything that is ultimately going to ruin a man in service to Him.
If God brings to your mind a verse which hurts you,
you may be sure that there is something He wants to hurt."
Andrew Murray, "With Christ In The School of Prayer."
"Peace lies in the trusting acceptance of His design, His gifts, His appointment of place, position, capacity." Elisabeth Elliott