A Divine Invitation by Steve McVey
“The seed of sin planted in this world in the garden of Eden continues to bear fruit to the present day. In the general sense, human suffering is a result of the fall of man… Faith seldom answers the ‘why’ of our problems, but instead offers the answer to ‘how’ we can survive our circumstances…
“In the midst of painful circumstances, we can still know intimacy with God by recognizing an important fact-our circumstances are not an indication of how God feels about us. (Romans 8:38-39)… God’s final word on how He feels about you is revealed by the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, not by whatever circumstances you may face…
Experiencing Him in Our Suffering
“Salvation is not a matter of Jesus Christ coming into our lives. That perspective is egocentric because it makes man the focal point in regeneration. To become a Christian means that we enter into His life. Our old life is put to death (Galatians ;
Colossians 3:3), and we then receive the indwelling Christ, in Whom we live from that
day forward (Acts ). Romans
“…When you entered into Christ, you came into union with every aspect of His life. Suffering is not an insignificant part of living in Him; it is one of the most effective ways that the Holy Spirit teaches us our true identity in Christ. It is often through suffering that God carries us deeper and deeper into an understanding of who we are in Him and Who He is in us. How does this occur? Perhaps an illustration from my own life will help explain.
“Several years ago I had taken an early-morning shower. I slid the shower door open to step out, when somehow it suddenly jumped off its track. The door instantly fell with its edge landing straight across the top of my big toe like a guillotine…
“When the door hit my toe, I felt a mental jolt in my brain as if someone had just shot me in the head. I looked down at my toe and saw a deep gash, which was now pouring out blood. I jumped out of the shower and into the bedroom on one foot…
“When that shower door cut my toe, everything else in life lost its significance to me… Only one thing mattered to me at that moment. You might say that right then, my whole life was a big toe. My all-consuming thought was, ‘I need a doctor now.’ …
“…My pain served one purpose with extreme efficiency-it caused me to want to see the doctor. That’s the way real suffering works in the lives of Christians. Suffering causes the believer to become consumed with the desire to experience Jesus Christ! It makes us want to see Him, to hear His voice, to feel His touch in our circumstances. This strand in the cord of eternal truth about suffering will sustain the Christian who clings to it. Our pain points us toward Jesus Christ!
“Suffering brings the indwelling life of Christ into our lives in a manifest way, enabling us to sense Him, to see Him by faith in ways that are seldom experienced in calmer days. When I cut my toe, I became oblivious to everything except my immediate need and my desire for the one who could meet that need.
“So it is in our grace walk. God uses the severe problems of life to focus our attention on Jesus. The believer’s thoughts turn to Christ in times of suffering as naturally as my thoughts turned toward the doctor when I had my accident. Suffering has a way of immediately distancing us from the superfluous, incidental matters of life that distract us from Jesus Christ. When a believer hurts, deep from within, at the vary core of his being, is the heartfelt cry, ‘Abba! Daddy’ (Romans ).
“When Abba’s babies hurt, He is intensively involved. Sometimes our pain is so great that it cannot be clearly expressed in words… (
“God loves you so much that He will always work in your circumstances when you suffer. Don’t think that because He doesn’t eliminate the problem, help isn't being given. Sometimes His most helpful acts in our lives occur when He goes through our circumstances with us instead of delivering us out of them. I have sometimes prayed, ‘Father, this hurts too much for it to be wasted. Please accomplish the maximum good in this situation that can be done.’
“God’s goal when we suffer is that Christ’s life within us may be manifested. As Watchman Nee pointed out, it is only when the alabaster box containing the precious, aromatic ointment is broken that its beautiful fragrance can fill the environment (Mark 14:3-9). God continually works to break us of any hope that we have life under control so that we will experience life under His control. It’s in this breaking process, facilitated by suffering, that self-reliance is set aside and the fragrance of Christ is released from within.
“…Christ is not simply in you life; He is your life!.. He will walk the path of pain with you, and in the person of the Comforter (John ) will sustain you each step of the way.
“…Jesus knows about your troubles. Perhaps it’s time for you to stop trying to figure out the why of your circumstances and recognize the who behind every situation of your life. Maybe answers will come to you at some point in life. Maybe they won’t. What really matters is not that you understand, but that you trust… He wants to hold you in His arms and go through your struggles with you.”