An Honor to Suffer

I was talking with another woman the other day and in the course of our conversation and I asked her if there were any prospects on the horizon for their home sale. She mentioned that they had a showing coming up and that they were hopeful that the people coming through would be the buyer. They have been through a very hard time and are anxious to move on with life. 

Her situation reminded me so much of when I was in that same position several years ago. I was living through a long cold winter up north with our youngest teenage son while my husband had gone ahead to begin things in our new home State. I had buried my Mom, just a few months before after helping her through a few years of health issues.  

For the first few weeks I was just numb.  I could not really feel much of anything emotionally after going through such a horrible time of life. I was battered and bruised and my heart was doubly broken; with my husband being gone I was torn in half, and then with the loss of my Mom... I was black and blue at heart. 

I recall the day I realized I was starting to come around after a long dark season of suffering.  A friend called me on the phone to see how I was faring and in the course of the conversation she said the most curious thing to me: she said that I was very honored to have gone through all that suffering. 

Had she seen my face, she would have realized how that statement stunned me. My first thought was that was nuts! Who would be honored to go through all this stuff? I did ask her to explain because I was sure she had some deeper meaning attached to her statement. She is a very godly woman, and is wiser in years than I.

She told me that God has done such a work in my life that I am ready for the tougher stuff. I have moved beyond the little trials in life and I have grown to the point where I can by God's grace handle the more difficult trials of life, and in that sense it is an honor.

Well....I must confess that "honor" is not a word I would attach to any portion of the past few years, and especially not the past 8 months. Torture would be more accurate from my perspective. My first thought was that if I have reached a new level, where the heck is the exit? The inevitable thoughts of what else is there on this level?? Cancer? Sudden loss of a loved one? Crippling illness? These thoughts and more suddenly invaded my mind and I realized to some degree I was mighty fearful of what comes next.

My flesh was ready for a break.

But Oh! God is faithful...God never gives us anymore than we are able to bear (1 Cor. 10:13) and through Christ and by running to Christ we can make it through whatever comes our way. My wise Pastor said he didn't think "honor" was a word Job would have used either as he sat in the ashes and scraped the scabs off his skin. It is more like conformity.

It is more to the point that the adversity God gives or allows into our lives is there because He knows it will make us more like Christ. It will mature our faith, and build character within us. I must be one tough pot...maybe cast iron to require such lengths to conform my character to that of Christ!

These sorts of things can get a person a little down. My desire is to glorify God. My desire is to live for Him, (and I pray it is a long and healthy life of service!) and meditating on trials and the pain of being conformed is wearing. 

As though God knew where I was emotionally as I wrote this post, this arrived in my email box- nothing else, just this:
"My purpose in writing is to encourage you
and assure you that the grace of God is with you
no matter what happens."
1 Peter 5:12

I will leave you with this as your thought for the day!