A Season of Affliction

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Jun 052012
 

In looking back on my seemingly short spiritual journey to this point, I realize that most of “my” seasons of suffering have involved watching everyone around me, family and friends that I love, suffer while I could do nothing but pray. The worst of these times was right after committing my life to Christ and, probably due to my inexperience, I did not even recognize what was happening until it was almost over. Yet this time it is like standing on a trail in the darkest part of the woods, with the trail leading back to where I was, to my place of comfort and security, blocked with no chance of reentry. I am presently squinting my eyes to see God’s path for me lit up. However, I have this suspicion that I am supposed to be suffering during this time and so therefore I will not see a path until I have endured this according to His perfect timing.

“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.”
Isaiah 42:16

“If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:6-7

Reflecting on my time before consigning my life to Christ, I recognize difficult times that altered who I am today and forced me to grow as a person, so I should know by now that this time will produce growth as well. But in my sinful flesh I am impatiently awaiting the happy ending because, in my selfishness, it involves my being uncomfortable for a period.

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, andhope does not put us to shame, because God’s lovehas been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

Charles Spurgeon said, “Mark then, Christian, Jesus does not suffer so as to exclude your suffering. He bears a cross, not that you may escape it, but that you may endure it. Christ exempts you from sin, but not from sorrow. Remember that, and expect to suffer.”

Out of my appreciation I should be joyfully taking up my cross to bear, because my inconveniences in life, whatever quantity piled on simultaneously or however big they may seem at the time, are minuscule in comparison to Jesus taking on the past, present and future sin of the entire world. All while being mocked and tortured as He paid our debts. Something I, in my limited capacity, cannot even comprehend.

“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?” Isaiah 45:9

So who am I to beg to be rescued and be made comfortable again? He is the potter and I am merely the clay. I should be begging to be formed. After all, doesn’t it show His love for us? I am not a potter but I cannot imagine spending lengths of time making and molding something to my liking and not loving it. And yet the analogy of a potter and his clay only goes so far. For although we are molded like clay, we are loved like sons and daughters. A love that defines what love is, a love that is so pure and undefiled we cannot accomplish loving the same way.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may beperfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

So while I am in this place of blindness I will keep my eyes and heart on Jesus and try to be joyfully patient..