PSALM 119:71 – It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
THEME OF THE DAY. LEARNING A LIFE OF OBEDIENCE. I want to start today’s nugget with a series of heart confessions. I would like to have a Christian life enjoying the Lord as much as a human being may this side of heaven. I would like to be so influential for the Lord that I leave a legacy of spiritual fruitfulness far and wide when I leave this world. I would like to become more and more like the Lord Jesus so that He is the first Person people think of when my name is mentioned. I would like to be the most Christ-centered husband, father, grandfather, pastor, brother, friend and neighbor a man may ever be in this life. One more confession . . . I would like all of these to be true and flourishing in my life without any pain, any suffering, any self-denial and with minimal effort on my part. And that last confession will never happen. Not in my life, not in your life, not in the lives of any Christian at any time in history past, present and future. Why? It is not God’s way. It has never been God’s way. It will never be God’s way. The path to see all those wonderful works of God I mentioned above will never be pain-free, without suffering, and easy. They are only accomplished through periods of pain and suffering that lead to an emptied-of-self life of uncompromising obedience to God’s Word. It is clearly stated in today’s scripture and it was clearly illustrated in the life of our Lord Jesus. Slowly read this portion of scripture from the letter to the Hebrews and observe Jesus’ life through its lens – In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered (Hebrews 5:7-8). If it was God’s will for His Son to learn obedience through suffering, it will be so for us as well. Jesus isn’t the only person to carry a cross in life. We, too, are called to a life of suffering and pain in the path of Christ-centered discipleship. But take heart. . .
God does not waste any season of suffering or pain He allows in His children’s lives. Both are purposeful and point to the development of a life of God-honoring obedience. Yes, it is hard. Yes, it hurts, but cling to the truth that “All things work together for good to those who love Him” and that includes pain and suffering. We may not see the good while in these hard times, but trust Him. After these seasons pass, we will look back with gratitude, even praise, over what God taught us and the work He did in us through the suffering and pain. In looking back, though we would not like to endure those seasons again, we would not trade for all the riches of the world what we learned. And what will we have learned? That the life of God-honoring obedience occurs through suffering and pain – just like Jesus, just like Christians throughout history, so rejoice, we are walking the path that God has laid out for all His people – past, present, and future.
PRAYER: “Father, may I see beyond the pain of life in this sin-cursed world to an eternal world where pain is unknown.”
QUOTE: “God never wastes our pain. He will use our suffering for good ends. Trust Him. He knows what He is doing.”