It seems many Christians have an overriding paradigm of a victorious Christian life - that there should be no problems in this life for a Christian. But this is a direct contradiction to what Jesus said in John 16:33, "I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world."
Our peace and rest is in Him.
1 Peter 4:12 - 13 tells us not to be surprised when fiery trials are what we go through. These trials make us partners with Christ in His suffering.
We are to consider it joy when we go through hard times (James 1:2).
Hebrews 11 tells of many Christians who were tortured, killed, destitute, etc.
Hard times are part and parcel of the Christian life. While we have a future hope knowing someday we will be with Him forever with new bodies and new minds, our existence here on earth is that there are hard times we go through - be it physical illness, emotional turmoil, mental illness, financial problems, relationship issues; it is all part of life here on earth.
The question of suffering has been one I've been pondering deeply for many years now. My quest to understand the role of suffering in a Christian's life started in earnest when Jerard became a member of our family. God used that little guy to turn my thoughts to this matter of suffering and pain.
Jesus said we'd be like Him. He suffered; we will too and we do - whether its a physical illness, emotional problem, mental illness, a "thorn in the flesh" as Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, etc..
one thing God is really making clear to me is that in the wrestling is rest.
"Teach me wisdom in the secret heart" Psalm 51:6 says, and He says "Rest"
"Blot out my transgressions....my sin is ever before me." - - my restless soul struggles, my heart desires Him, to be like HimAnd He says to me, "like Jacob wrestled with the angel to be blessed, I desire you to wrestle with your struggles to find rest in Me."
Isn't God amazing?
He uses the weak things of the world to confound the wise,
He uses the humble to destroy the proud;
He sends Jesus to die as our sacrifice for sin so we can have life eternal.
Paradox - a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.
In the struggles I cling tighter to my Saviour. Like David said in Psalm 51, "create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me."
Can't you see him? A man devastated by his sin, weeping and wrestling in his bedroom, calling out to God in his anguish? This psalm was not placidly spoken. That's how I picture it. I've done similar many times myself.
"Restore me to the joy of Your salvation"
Passionately poured out words from a hurting, wounded soul.
"Cast me not away from Your presence. Take not Your Holy Spirit from me."
And Jesus answers, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)
In Psalm 52, as David wrestles to rest, he ends the psalm with "I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever...I will wait for Your name, for it is good."
There is a peace that we can cling to in the midst of trials, in the midst of storms; but learning how to stay in the calm center eye of the typhoon swirling around takes wrestling. And eventually in that wrestling comes rest.
God wants our honesty, not a facade. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart. (Psalm 51:17)
Then, this picture comes to my mind...
as Jerard rested on me, I am to rest on my Saviour.
And like a weaned child, I have calmed and quieted my soul.
Jesus loves me, this I know.
So whether the struggle is mental illness, emotional turmoil, relationship issues, physical illness, financial problems, etc....one thought I leave you with is this, there is rest in the wrestling.