Saturday, March 29, 2014

transforming suffering

Vaneetha Rendall Demski post some thoughts on transforming suffering:
  1. Remember that God loves me. Unconditionally, relentlessly, passionately. The cross is a blazing reminder of his love. Nothing can separate me from it. Jesus is always for me. He witnesses every heartache I endure. He discerns the fears I can’t even voice. He weeps with me in my pain
  2. Talk to God. I need his help, his perspective, his comfort. Intellectually knowing this affliction is for my good is not enough; I need an encounter with the living God. And when I unreservedly pour out my heart to him, he tenderly meets me. These prayers are not long or eloquent. They may be groans, simple cries of “help me Jesus” or even silence before him. My biggest challenge is not to turn away. Or stew in my anger. Or numb the pain elsewhere.
  3. Open the Bible and start reading it. I often resist this straight-to-the-text approach; it can seem so academic. But as I open the Bible’s pages, God speaks to me, whispering his comfort, shouting his promises, showing his grace through his inspired writers — people who were brutally honest about their suffering. They mentor me, modeling that it’s acceptable to lament. To voice my frustration. To express my raw emotion.
  4. Remind myself that I am never alone in my suffering. In addition to our triune God, I am surrounded by a glorious cloud of witnesses who see every struggle I experience. While invisible to me, they are part of the spiritual realm, like the angels that Gehazi beheld sitting on chariots of fire. The unseen world. This world is real. And ever watching. Watching to see whether God is my treasure. Whether I will still praise him as my body deteriorates. Whether I will trust him when all looks dark.
  5. Recite God’s faithfulness. I have a record of my spiritual highlights, my unmistakable encounters with God, my Ebenezers. The times when God has rescued me. Surprised me with joy. Overwhelmed me with his presence. When I am suffering, I need to review this list. It assures me that this trial will one day pass but God’s faithfulness and love will never fail.
  6. Set my mind on heaven. This world is not my home and it is passing away. It will be over in the blink of an eye. And then real life will begin. God has eternity to make up for any suffering in this life. In heaven there will be no more tears or death or crying or pain.
  7. Remember that this life is all about God. Everything was created to make much of him whose ways are higher than my ways. I may not understand how, but God is doing something bigger with my life than I can possibly see. My suffering is never senseless; it will not be wasted. He will ultimately use every struggle for my good and his glory.
Read her story here.

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