creatures of comfort

In the wake of a longer season of suffering than I’ve experienced in years, I am earnestly (and frequently) reflecting on a quote from Randy Alcorn’s book Safely Home that simply says this:

Real gold fears no fire.

     Oh! The implications of those words for the children of God. Have you been trusting Him through your light and momentary affliction? Do you consider yourself worthy to be called to suffer for His name and glory?
     Through this season I’ve seen friends suffering the absence of life due to physical and eternal distances, the emotional and physical stresses of sleepless nights, families being tried as marriages are attacked, and even myself suffering from the consequences of my sin and bitterness. I found myself not rejoicing in this suffering and burden bearing nor delighting in my reproof, but pleading with God for comfort. I wanted it all to end promptly. I especially longed for closure before I actually had to reach out and trust God in trusting someone else to see this ugliness.
     BUT of course that was not what God had in store. You see, something amazing starts to take shape when life seems to be out of my control and falling apart. My clouded eyes and calloused heart begin to see more clearly and become softened to behold God’s sufficiency and grandeur. And it takes place only by way of clinging, in faith, to the words, person, people, and purposes of Christ. Why do we believe that sometimes it is OK to suffer and walk our lives alone? I believe it’s pride, believing in self-sufficiency rather than Christ’s sufficiency.
     Oh, brothers and sisters! Are you clinging to someone who is just a hobby or shopping buddy during your season of suffering, or are you clinging to someone who will bring scripture to bear on your life? Are you believing the Word of God and acting on it no matter how you feel? Or are you giving up and giving in? What God says, He will do. Go on. Reach out. Don't be deceived into thinking that health in the Body and its members is defined by a lack of issues. Health means that when issues arise (cause they will), the body can and will battle the attack without becoming ill and overwhelmed. Praise God that He is victorious before us, dwelling in us, and reigning over us! He WILL bring a good result. I will trust Him. I will worship. I will follow.
     I want to leave you with one last quote to ponder from Thomas á Kempis who wrote, "Jesus now has many lovers of His heavenly kingdom, but few bearers of His cross. He has many who desire consolation, but few who desire tribulation. He finds many companions of His table, but few of His abstinence. All desire to rejoice with Him but few are willing to endure anything for Him or with Him. Many follow Jesus to the breaking of bread but few to the drinking of the cup of His passion. Many revere His miracles, but few follow the humiliation of His cross."