Perhaps some of you will find this encouraging…
I suffered an injury recently (upon some past injuries) which has now left me with nonstop and rather intense ringing in my ears. From a natural perspective, there is really nothing that can be done for this. From a spiritual perspective, I know that God’s grace is sufficient for me and that even this can serve in making me dead to the world and to “sin” – buried with Christ and raised in the fullness of the resurrected life.
Beloved, we CAN glory in tribulation KNOWING that THROUGH tribulation and suffering we can draw nearer and nearer to the fullness of the Christ life. To the natural minded man, glorying in trouble might seem to be a bit nuts, but to (and in) the spiritual minded man and woman THERE IS A KNOWING that sorrows and distresses serve to chasten, refine and sanctify, to make one “meet for the Master’s use and worthy of the inheritance of the saints in light.”
To a disciple in Christ, all afflictions and trouble are to be seen as “light and momentary” because of the eternal weight of glory that overshadows those things (but comes through them). I’ve come to know that even nonstop satanic buffeting (for not knowing what else to call it) can be patiently endured, and this because of A KNOWING that such suffering is acceptable and pleasing to our Father. Did not Jesus Christ leave us an example of such suffering that we should follow in His footsteps? He did.
Sufferings, afflictions, trials, etc., are a PART OF THE BELIEVER’S CALLING. Whatever calling, profession or occupation a man or a woman of the world may choose for themself, there is a certain expectation of passing through a process of study, discipline and training in order to fit them for that calling. And so it is with “the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus,” the PROCESS by which we are prepared for this high position being A PART OF THE CALLING ITSELF, and this process being inclusive of our willingness to accept the persecutions and trouble of this calling, that through those things we might lay hold of the fullness of life in the age to come.
This is saying that fiery trials with which some of us are regularly engulfed are not to be thought of as strange and frightening, but rather, we are to take such things as A MATTER OF COURSE and as part of the training for which we are called. In this way we can rejoice in our partaking of suffering with/in Christ because WE KNOW that when Christ’s glory shall be revealed we may be glad and exceedingly joyful KNOWING that we have suffered with Christ and therefore we shall also reign with Christ.
There is passage of scripture coming to mind now which states that it is A PRIVILEGE to be permitted to fellowship with Christ IN suffering. This is it…
“UNTO YOU IT IS GIVEN on behalf of Christ to not only believe on Him but also to suffer for His sake! Therefore, brethren, count it all joy when you fall into diverse trials and temptations KNOWING that the trying of your faith is working patience in you, and let that patience HAVE ITS PERFECT WORK IN YOU that you may be made perfect/mature in Christ, IN NEED OF NOTHING.”
You may have noticed that I have emphasized the word “knowing” several times in this letter, for KNOWING the truth in this letter is what SETS US FREE TO SUFFER THE CROSS UNTO THE FULLNESS OF OUR DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION. It is possible for us to count our trials “all joy” knowing that BY those trials we are being continually advanced toward the condition where we will be “perfect and entire (mature in Christ) wanting nothing.”
Now, I’m not saying here that we should always be full of joy and happiness no matter what comes our way. Surely, the child of God is sad and sorrowful at times. I personally know (and frequently know) anguish of heart, and yet, I rejoice (inwardly) even at these times. My personal experience is that there IS A LONG DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL and a deep valley covered by the shadow of death through which we must pass to get to the fullness of the Feast of Tabernacles. This I believe to be the DEATH AND BURIAL part of “the narrow way” which leads to the fullness of Life, and as far as my understanding of this way goes, there are “few” people who fully pass through it in their lifetime.