I mentioned in a recent post on our family blog untohimwelive that I've stumbled upon a book called Voices from the Past that is singing to my heart as I struggle with strong pain while awaiting probable surgery at the Mayo Clinic next week.
Sometimes the words I read in this collection of short reflections by various Puritan authors are purely comforting. Sometimes they are uncomfortably convicting. However, even the convicting passages are like a salve to my soul because the challenge they bring helps realign my thinking to be biblical. Only when we think God's thoughts will we find real peace, strength and comfort. And right now, I need a whole lot of peace, strength and comfort! So bring on the conviction!
Today's passage was one that brought the needed OUCH!
"In our sufferings, we need to be more concerned about our duty than our deliverance. We should seriously consider what it is that God desires in our present dispensation. There is no condition or trial in the world but we have the opportunity to exercise some special grace or duty. To desire deliverance alone is self-love and quite natural to man. In affliction man seeks to be delivered and released from his burden. Men make more haste to get their afflictions removed than to be sanctified in them...Let us search and try our ways, Let us consider that the present condition is best for us, and learn in whatever state we are, to be content (Phil. 4:11). Let us rejoice in tribulation (Rom. 5:3) Let us lift up Jesus Christ and make Him glorious by our afflictions. Paul studied more how to adorn the cross than how to avoid it. If he must suffer for Christ, O that Christ might not suffer by him! May Christ be exalted, and let us entrust our souls to a faithful Creator (1 Peter 4:19)." Thomas Chase, Select Works, A Treatise of Afflictions, pp. 65-67I have fallen into the trap of wanting nothing more than to be set free from my pain. Author Thomas Chase calls that "self-love." Ouch! And yet when I look back over my thirty plus years of following Christ, one truth stands out. God is good and what He does is good, even when it feels hard. In some way that I cannot see yet, this health problem is for my good. In the midst of the daily misery, I need to look not just for rescue, but I also must be on the alert for my Kingdom work. Right now. Today. In the middle of pain strong enough that I find myself holding my breath to fight it. I don't need to wait until I get to the other side of the pain to serve God and glorify Him. I can do that now. And, whatever today's Kingdom assignment is for me, I know that my beloved King will enable me. He is good and what He does is good, even when His plan includes affliction!
Clinging to my King