Friday, June 01, 2007

We Must Suffer

Writer and pastor, Dr. John Piper once told his parishoners (quoting a friend), "I have never learned anything about trusting God from the easy times, only from hard times."

The mark of a freed christian is that he has come to the realization that it is not him who governs, or is soveriegn, or all-powerful. He has been brought low by the sweetness of purifying suffering and pain. He realizes that the void and want is large and profound within his soul and it cannot (and has not) been filled by anything in the world. All things and persons he has enjoyed only serve as echos to that void and cry out for something more meaningful, and more lasting.

It is the true mark of a christian when - at last - he has come to the end of the road (himself) and says, "I'm threw with self-love, man-worshipping and idols - none have satisfied. Give me God."

It is not surprising that the freed person in Christ has been brought to this realization through trial, pain or shortcoming. Suffering seems to be the most poignant reminder to our prideful hearts that we are not as "in control" and worthy of worship as our souls have led us to believe. The biggest killer of us all is not heart disease, but pride.

Pride has a hard time maintaining its hold in our lives, when we are humbled. When, we lose a loved one. When we see the hated and scorned, turn on their perpetrators with love. When we experience a great fall, having risen so high. And when our "functional saviors" fail us, once again.

Lord, help us not to rebuke the sufferings you have ordained for us. But, help us to learn to lean more on you - and to depend on the one who will deliver us one day from all pain; and will turn all sadness into deep, void-filling joy.