2 Words in 1
Why I Step Back
There are times when the LORD prompts me about what true resting and waiting looks like.
It gives me rich fellowship with Him and I just love the fresh things He shares with me for specific ministry travels, gatherings, or “one on one” private meetings with other leaders.
Sometimes I am called to do what Deborah did and sit in my office listening, praying with others who are hurting and counseling them.
Waiting for the LORD to share fresh insights usually means for me to dial way back on commitments and accepting invitations to minister or socialize. It’s a complete break from “going and doing” and instead, is simply “being” quiet, and in the Presence of the Glory of the LORD.
No, it sure doesn’t look exciting on travel itineraries and often I’m asked why I’m not “out there ministering” at every conference invitation.
Truly, there is nothing that “exciting” or powerful worth sharing, if I myself have not first been drinking deeply from the cup of fellowship with my King.
Until I know that He has put a fresh fire in my heart and a message for those whom He sends me to, I am willing to sit at His feet, and learn from Him.
Easy? No way!
Worth it? In EVERY WAY!
“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”
Rejoice in Suffering?
The idea of being able to rejoice in suffering seems terribly backwards to us.
How many people do you know who say while they were in a trial or time of great distress in their life that they truly had joy in that trial? Not many at all.
So…. Why is that?
The first tendency we have during a trial is to only focus on the suffering and not look beyond what is directly in front of us. That tendency while in the middle of suffering causes us to be selfish and make it “all about us”.
That’s where the big problem arises. We make the suffering about us, instead of making it about Him.
Have you ever considered the thought that maybe, just maybe, God loves us so much that He allows us to go through suffering so that we may be able to grow closer to Him? What a strange thought, that the God that loved us enough to send His son to suffer for us, now asks us to rejoice in suffering so we can grow closer to Him! (Stay with me now as I explain!)
Never once in Scripture will you see a promise from God that says “You will always be “perky”, every single day will be perpetually sunny, and you will always be happy!” or “Life as a Christian is easy!”
Modern Western Christianity has tangled up the idea that the Christian life is easy and that we will receive many abundant blessings from God that will make us wealthy, popular and dynamic in every little task we undertake. This is not real truth at all.
When you read through Scripture you see Christ telling us that in fact, we will suffer just as he suffered.
So then, How can we be joyful in the midst of suffering? We must try to Understand that suffering is not a surprise, but is actually to be anticipated.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you,”1 Peter 4:12.
We can rejoice because the suffering we are going through does not come as a surprise to God. It never has, and it never will. Our earthly way of thinking is to view suffering as a strange, shameful and unfruitful thing.
Once we see that suffering changes us, humbles us, we come to know that suffering is meaningful, it is purposeful, and it is for our good.
Suffering has never been outside of the will of God. It has in fact, always been in the will of God!
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”. In the middle of this promise from God is “for good”.
Modern Christianity has twisted this verse and has attempted to make it fit into what WE want it to say.
It does not say for a life a luxury, for a life of glamour, or for a life that benefits us. The verse says that God works things together for good, which may mean suffering, but that means that we will bring glory to God in every situation whether it is in the midst of suffering or through good times.
We can rejoice because it is a part of God’s plan.
By the way, Did you know that those who have suffered make the most effective comforters?
Suffering refines us.
It forms a deep seated compassion inside of us for those who are in agony.
We’ve been there… We get it.
Isaiah 48:10 says it so very clearly.
“I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.”
The meaning of this verse shows us that pain and suffering have a way of bringing our strengths and weaknesses to the surface. When the dross and scum float to the surface, God skims it off; he purifies and refines us to be the radiant bride of Christ.
It’s not easy to be challenged and to suffer correction or to be treated poorly or with disdain by others wielding the hammers of judgment! But that type of suffering produces an ability to not be gravely offended. Life happens, pain happens and we suffer.
How we allow the fire of suffering to purge us of “self” indicates how willing we are to be refined, changed and “re-wired”.
“My grace is more than enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,”
(2 Corinthians 12:9).
In His Shadow,
~ Mary Lindow ©
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Mary Lindow has a passion for encouraging others – all generations, careers or vocations to live expressing excellence through personal integrity, healthy accountability, and wise management of talents and skills. She’s a sought after keynote, inspirational, humorous speaker and teacher across the USA and internationally in Ministers & Spiritual leaders Conferences, and training seminars for various organizations.