The Honor of Suffering

I was talking with a friend the other day over coffee. It happened to be the sixth anniversary of the homegoing of my mom, and I shared with her all that things that were going on during that long dark season of suffering.

She said the most curious thing to me: She said that I am very honored to have gone through all that suffering. My first thought was, that is nuts! Who would be honored to go through all that 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 those years, and especially not the two years that whole period of time encompassed. 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 is 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!