Seeing our suffering a different way…

After listening to a sermon on 2 Corinthians 2:7-8 last night, I came away with a deep sense of need…a need for allowing what I heard to work its way deeply inside of my heart and mind and to change me, not for a time, but forever. Thank God for the gift of His Word and humble, sincere servants who will rightly divide the Word of Truth.

Considering Paul’s thorn in the flesh, which was given to him to keep him from becoming exalted, we were advised to consider asking God to use our own suffering, or thorn, to accomplish in us exactly what He wants to accomplish. Instead of always seeking relief from our painful thorns, might we make a shift and instead surrender to God’s will to work in us His perfect will.

I’ve suffered my share of griefs and burdens, difficulties that linger, some reaching all the way back to those earliest of years when I was no bigger than my little fella is right now. I shudder to even think about some of the battles I’ve had and have so often questioned…asking “why” and then sorrowing over the notion that it didn’t have to be so!

Maybe though, that it did have to be so, in order for some good to come about that otherwise would never have been. Since my trials started so early, they surely helped to chisel away, shaping me into the person that I am now. Maybe I’m not too very impressed with who I am, but there are some things that are meaningful, that surely have been worthwhile on this journey I’m taking. I have come to know the Lord which is the absolute most important thing for anyone who is born into this world to know, and I’ve shared the truth of who He is and of His goodness many times over. I love and have loved throughout my life and have shared some of the tenderest most precious of moments with my family, friends, and even with strangers from time to time.

I guess I have a tender heart which might not have been so had it not been broken so early on and if I didn’t love so deeply I wouldn’t sorrow as I do. Would I give up this great love I have for others to suffer less? Absolutely not! Would I rather be hardened than to care? No way!

As you can tell, I’m looking deeply back into my own woes in order to see the goodness that flows from the well of sorrow that has been carved out over the course of time. As surely as we sorrow deeply, we are able to joy fully when the peaceful morning comes following a long dark night of storm.

May we all take courage and trust the Lord who is first gracious and full of loving kindness when bearing the thorns of this earthly flesh. I love the reminder from my favorite old hymn, “this robe of flesh I’ll drop and rise, to seize the everlasting prize, and shout while passing through the air, farewell, farewell sweet hour of prayer.” With the dropping of this robe of flesh, the thorn too will forever pass away, but the eternal good that may have come from the buffeting it gave will have no end…what an awesome, blessed thought!

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