I remember my Mother telling me that one day I would long for heaven! I was actually resistant to her statements because, as a young person, I wanted my heaven to be on this earth. I would NEVER be like my mother! Why did she always want to listen to that Christian music? Why did she always witness to everyone she saw at the drive through windows? All I could think of were the things I had to do, and the memories I still wanted to make, the love I wanted to have, and the opportunities that were left for ME. I’ll admit, glorifying Jesus just didn’t sound interesting to me in my 20’s. WOW, how God has worked! Life has hit me hard in the face and knocked me down a few times since then! I’ve suffered and I’m better for it.
Over the years, the things I’ve done, I’ve done well and not so well; the memories…of course, there are some I wish I could forget; the love I wanted, although wonderful, didn’t fulfill me in the way that God did, and many, many opportunities passed me by while I was busy making “my” plans. Along with those things, came other parts of life that included deaths, illnesses, and tragedies. Praise God I’m a survivor, and I’m not alone. THIS IS A FALLEN WORLD and to make this life worth living I’ve realized that I need Jesus first and foremost. Not only do I need him, but I need to SEED him into the hearts of others.
When we suffer, Jesus is with us, because he lives inside us. We are uplifted by his Spirit, embraced, held, and comforted. Through our dependence on him, others can see how God brings us through our suffering. If we choose not to rely on Him, they only see our suffering and our chance to SEED him is diminished.
No one said it better than Paul about suffering as a Christian: Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4: 6-8, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. He goes on to say in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
We all suffer and carry burdens here on earth. While going through such a situation, we can handle it as Paul talks about or we can handle it in our own strength. I would much rather be struck down, but not destroyed and hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be eaten alive by the stress of my situation. Stress comes at us from all directions and it affects our mind, emotions, and our bodies. I’ve learned that God doesn’t always heal us, take us away from the situation, or even let us know why the stress is coming. Sometimes he just wants us to accept the fact that we are lights in the midst of the darkness of this fallen world, and that he has already been there, so it’s okay to go through it because, guess what? He’s on the other side of it and in our weakness His spirit overcomes and he receives the glory!
Through this process, we begin to long for the eternity of “no more suffering” we have been promised. We want to sing praise and glory to his name, in all his perfection. We want to see his face one day and thank him for taking all of our sin upon him. We begin to accept and understand the grace we’ve been given when we allow him to comfort us and use us for His purposes here on this earth. I long for heaven one day, but realize I have a huge job for him to do right now here on this earth. I am now satisfied and pleased to be “just like my mother”! Thank you Mom for sowing his SEED into my life and teaching me that through the hope of Jesus, I can be struck down, but not destroyed!