Have you ever wondered how the first century apostles could be filled with numerous afflictions; be beaten by mad mobs, stoned, thrown into prisons, be constantly buffeted by public reproaches, persecutions and condemnations and YET these men of God would still write of their sorrows as being joyous, of their poverty as being rich, of their suffering as being life-giving to others and of their dishonor as being honoring to God?
I think that these men could do this because they were emptied of self to the point of indifference. In other words, I think that they reached a point in their walk where they were not only resigned to do God’s will (meaning; they were willing to do it, but at times were not so happy about it), but rather they LIVED FOR IT, it was their meat. For this reason I believe that these men could be largely unconcerned about how the fulfillment of that will might affect them.
It seems to me, beloved, that the love and desire that these guys had for the Father and for His will and purposes to be accomplished had become so great and their self-life had become so little that they could receive trials and afflictions of the greatest magnitude with patience, and with an inward joy, and with a sweetness of heart that is little known by people today. I think that these guys also realized that tribulation CAN BE THEIR SERVANT used for their perfecting and for deepening their intimacy with the Lord. I think that we need to get to this same place too, don’t you? I’ve been writing of late about how. It all starts with a simple prayer, really, but one that comes out from our innermost deep and which resounds to the Highest Heavens. The words don’t matter so much as the resonant energy (the real heart) behind them. The words go something like this…
“Father, everything within me cries out to know You in the power of Christ’s resurrection Life. Please, take me through WHATEVER I need to go through that I might be emptied of myself and come to know You in this way.”
The resonant energy part? Well, you should be able to tell when you pray if what is needed is really there or not. Surely, God will be able to tell. — D
The Spirit has also revealed that when we suffer with someone a tremendous bond is formed which joins hearts together. The apostles mentioned above must have known (realized) this, and so their willingness to suffer WITH the Lord.
With all of this in mind, beloved, may you also come to realize that we (as the bride of Christ) are asked by the Lord to take up our cross and suffer with Him, for one; because we are highly sanctified in this way. But not only that. It is also because we cannot “know Him” (really KNOW HIM!) without us SHARING the passion and the fiery intimacy of a husband and wife who has walked the SAME journey, carried the SAME cross, endured the SAME pain, and who have come through it all VICTORIOUS, TOGETHER!.. by the power of God.