First, it was in a couple daily devotional emails (Girlfriends in God) that I received that addressed the topic.
Then, my pastor spoke on it this past Sunday. We studied 1 Peter 2:18-25 which talks about our suffering and how Christ suffered for US. And, the part I think I may have missed, is that in His suffering, he trusted in the One. Pastor Chris read an article of a woman from North Korea that was falsely imprisoned at a labor camp where the suffering was so bad it is almost unimaginable that people can survive.
But they do.
And she did. And she was miraculously freed, able to escape to South Korea and eventually to the US where she testified on the atrocities that she experienced during her imprisonment.
What she also witnessed there was the love of Christ by the Christian prisoners. Those prisoners were tortured far more brutally because of their faith and their refusal to deny it.
Hearing this woman's story made me reflect on my "sufferings". It made me see how much I have to be thankful for and brought a lot of what I thought was suffering into perspective.
There are people in our town, our state, our country, our world that are suffering in ways that are far beyond our comprehension. I can only pray that they have the hope of eternal life and the peace of knowing Christ as their savior.
What prompted me to write this, since you know I am so behind on the real "important posts" - monthly baby updates and such, is my anxiety. It has been at an all time high these past couple weeks. Because of school, work, life.
And then I start getting these messages, one after another, on suffering. I began to worry that I am being prepared to suffer in some horrific way. Whether it be to have something happen to Avery or Ryan or anyone of my family or friends and in turn cause ME to suffer. It is like going to the dentist, knowing you have to get your tooth pulled and the pain your will endure after.
How selfish, right? How is it going to hurt ME? How will I feel? How would I ever get through anything worse then I already have?
But is SO not about that...about ME. What I should be thinking is how I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me. And how will MY sufferings reflect Jesus' love for me so that others may see it clearly.
I know that God only gives us what we can handle. And what we can't? He is there is carry us through.
Even so, I keep asking myself, "what is God trying to tell me in this?" because I KNOW that there is a reason I am being shown this particular topic.
Instead of sitting around, worrying, making myself sick with anxiety, over something I have NO control over, I am choosing to trust Him.
To relieve my anxiety.
To protect my family and friends.
To help me lean on Him and to trust Him and to rely on my faith that He will be there no matter what happens.
Maybe He is teaching me so I am able to help others that are suffering. Maybe to use my past sufferings as a testimony to my faith. Maybe to be more compassionate to those that have suffered and chose a different path to take instead of the one with The One who saves.
My wonderful aunt, an amazing Christian woman, sent me this verse via text on Tuesday, just when I needed it:
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul.
I cannot tell you how many times these past few days I have opened that text up and read it.
I am not in anyway trying to minimalize <not a word spell check? too bad.> my sufferings I have experienced so far in life. Because I have learned some lessons from them that, if I had not gone through those experiences, I may have never gained the knowledge and understanding and wisdom I have today.
So while writing this, getting it out, has helped a bit, I know that it is Christ that I need to lean on to get me through this anxiety.
You can't go through life waiting for the next bad thing to happen. That is no way to live. I have way too many good, great, amazing things to be thankful for.
But I do know that when there is a trial or suffering I must endure, I know who the protector of my heart is.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us--they help us learn to endure.
Endurance then develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation”
(Romans 5:3-5 NLT)