Over the summer, many of us have been tired and exhausted from everything going on in life and in the life of the church. Some of us are tired because of just not having the physical rest that we need while others are not in good health to begin with. All across the country I have rec’d requests for prayer for many brothers and sisters in the Lord for energy, healing and hope. As I reflected on this for our congregation and looked deeply at my own life, I have concluded that this is normal. Normal in every sense because our flesh is weak and dying because of the fall and yet our spirit is being renewed in Christ each day. Although we pray for rejuvenation and healing, and God does give both, these answered prayers are only temporal, they will only last for a season because all of us are just facing another trial, another sickness or something else.
Although this may seem like bad news, the good news is that the suffering of this life is temporal and that our promise from God is undeniably real and forever! A few passages of scripture that teaches us about our current condition and our future glory might help you as it has helped me.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”
(2 Corinthians 4:7-12 ESV)
Paul is talking about the treasure of the Gospel of Christ and that it is in our bodies as broken and fragile vessels. It is in the suffering of life that we fill up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions to each other and the world. Look at this verse: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”
(Colossians 1:24-29 ESV)
Notice Paul’s zeal in the face of suffering for the cause of the Gospel. His hope does not rest in the securities of this life or the desire to see his earthly life as an easy “retirement” life of leisure but looks for that “day” when he is renewed in Christ forever! God has made Himself a people for His own glory, the church that is saved by the Grace through Jesus Christ alone! You, as a child of God, are part of this family of God, you have an eternal and amazing inheritance as Christ Himself is your treasure! Do not be dismayed but be alive in Christ with the fulness of joy knowing that your life is in His hands. I will leave you with Peter’s words to the suffering saints of old:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
(1 Peter 1:3-9 ESV)
Our hope and our joy lies in the promise of God, not the problems of this life. Rest well oh weary saint!
Soli Deo Gloria,