I am SO sorry for the length of time since my last blog. I have been busy with life, but I'm back now.
Today's topic: suffering. Never a particularly thrilling subject, but such a huge part of our lives. Suffering can be as small as that one day everything went wrong (your coffee spilt, you were late to work, you got a flat tire, etc.) to a death of someone close to you, or anything in between. We Americans have little tolerance of suffering, so we have invented everything we can think of to make it go away. Unspillable cups, alarm clocks, air pumps, hospitals and pills. I'm not saying these things are bad. All I'm saying is that we don't want to deal with suffering, even on the smallest level. Because of this, we don't even consider finding the joy in the midst of suffering, but how important that is. Because no matter how many inventions we make, we cannot eradicate suffering completely, because the Lord has made it apart of life. It's going to rain, the question is whether you are going to dance in it or not. Let me preface this with the fact that the only way you can find true joy in the midst of trials is Christ. He promised suffering to His followers, yet He also commanded us to have joy. He does make a way for these things to coincide.
As I was thinking of this month's topic, I remembered a school assignment I had once done. The assignment was to go into the woods and observe some interesting nature fact, but at the time I was working through a really tough season, both in my relationships and my walk with the Lord. I didn't really want to find a leaf and examine it, so I went to one of my favorite spots atop a beautiful hill and just wrote down what came to mind. I hope you all enjoy.
Dated: April 10, 2020
"I didn't exactly learn a fact about nature, nor do I have a strange leaf discover to write about. But as I sit atop of a hill looking down over the green valley, lush with foliage, I am reminded of life. Looking at life's journey atop a hill is very deceiving. It looks so vast, so wonderful. But just as I have gotten lost in that valley, so we get lost in life. When we are not in the trenches of it, it seems like it will be a wonderfully wild ride. But when you are smacked by branches, bitten by bugs, ridden with fear, and unable to see the other side, it's a lot less wonderful. It's not that life isn't exciting at times, but it's a lot more painful than we think.
So while we should appreciate the view, I think we need to face the reality that suffering makes up life. And though extremely difficult, we should appreciate it, too.
Because there's joy in the suffering.
Life is not a wonderful, fun ride. It is hard, laborious, painful, sticky, and messy. It hurts, and sometimes, it hurts really bad. That's why we must learn to find joy in the pain. Just as we can find joy in the beautiful rose, though it's full of thorns, we can find joy in the sharp pain of life.
Remember the joy of suffering."
"More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5
"When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul." Psalm 94:19
“Men will never become great in divinity until they become great in suffering. ‘Ah!’ said Luther, ‘affliction is the best book in my library;’ and let me add, the best leaf in the book of affliction is that blackest of all the leaves, the leaf called heaviness, when the spirit sinks within us, and we cannot endure as we could wish. And yet again; this heaviness is of essential use to a Christian, if he would do good to others. . . . There are none so tender as those who have been skinned themselves. Those who have been in the chamber of affliction know how to comfort those who are there. Do not believe that any man will become a physician unless he walks the hospitals; and I am sure that no one will become a divine, or become a comforter, unless he lies in the hospital as well as walks through it, and has to suffer himself." -C.H. Spurgeon
“Grace is given to keep us from sin, which is a great blessing; but what is the good of grace except it is in the time when the trial comes? Certainly, the grace that will not stand in the hour of temptation or affliction, is a very spurious sort of grace; and we had better get rid of it, if we have it. When a godly woman’s child dies, the infidel husband sees the mother’s faith. When the ship goes down, and is lost in the sea, the ungodly merchant understands the resignation of his fellow-man. When pangs shoot through our body, and ghastly death appears in view, people see the patience of the dying Christian.
Our infirmities become the black velvet on which the diamond of God’s love glitters all the more brightly.
Thank God I can suffer, thank God I can be made the object of shame and contempt; for, in this way, God shall be glorified.” -C. H. Spurgeon
Though suffering, by nature, is hard and painful, God does give you joy if you are His. If you are not, you will go through troubles regardless, but without Christ, there will be absolutely no joy or peace in it. Your entire life will be getting above the waters of life, gasping for breath, and then being plunged under again. But Christ offers peace, even in pain.
Do you have that peace?
I pray that you all do.
Love from the farm,