“It’s in the quiet crucible of your personal, private sufferings... that your noblest dreams are born... and God’s greatest gifts are given... in compensation for what you’ve been through... it is well.”
— Wintley Phipps
The grandest of solemn truths is cast before us above—by the heart of a person who has touched their tragedy, breathed of its noxious fumes, and lived to survive to tell the tale.
Suffering is a qualification like none other.
It takes us intact and crumbles our world in front of our eyes. It forces us through a process of extraction, where essences of us are swallowed whole by it. What remains is the material God can use.
Suffering predisposes us to blessing if we can humbly bear it.
These are the tests of us: can we sustain our humble obedience? Will we do the sharp and sticky deep middle-ground work that will connect us to God in the midst of torment and pain?
When groans replace words and grimaces mould our smiles into sickened vestiges of yesteryear, and we become, for the time, nothing, we are ready for the test. If we will obey God, trusting the Presence of the Healer, the Lord of Glory will fill us with his Spiritual inspiration—that long-awaited dream!
Returning From Suffering’s Source
Having knelt at the cross, and having done so routinely, perhaps for months if not years, God lifts us gradually from that miry dearth—for instances initially, then for longer, more sustained periods. We resent—at least at the outset—that we must do our cross-work, but it’s what Jesus warned us about and modelled by his own life.
Suffering’s a great antipathy and a messy anachronism that never suits us, but its source is based in a recipe that has worked from the ancients until now, eternally.
Suffer well and we thrive. It’s because it’s the greatest expression of faith there is. It’s easy to obey God when there’s no test afoot. We miss the mark when the pressure comes on; the typical human default.
God is saying, “You can get through this—hope in me—there is enough of me to help you through—my grace is sufficient!”
Returning from suffering’s source is the eventual outcome. Nobody remains there. Adjustments are made and God forms us into new people.
Deeply inside, where our pain finds its real identity, and where we bear it well, is born both a dream and God’s equipping for a new thing. It is the Lord’s compensation for what we’ve been through.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.