Food for thought
There is a reason for pain and suffering. Scripture says that we should not only expect it, but that we should consider it pure joy. It tells us that suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope. It says that sadness makes the heart wise and reminds us where our hope and strength come from. It also encourages us to comfort others with the comfort we have received. And finally, it reassures us that weeping will be replaced with singing. Not only do we have an eternal hope to look forward to, but we have a present hope as well. As Psalm 27:13-14 says, “I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!”
Paul’s words in Ephesians 3 speak much to me this day and though I am not worthy to be compared to this apostle, may I echo some of his words. ‘To me, who am less than the least… grace was given” I don’t know that I have been called to preach, yet it seems as though stories ever flow through my head longing to share the love and mercy of the Lord with others. As Paul said, “it is through Christ that we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you... I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able o do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Charles Spurgeon writes in ‘Strengthen My Spirit’ that we should have the person of Jesus ever before us to inflame our love toward Him. The heart should be full of Him, welling up with His love even to overrunning. You cannot have someone closer to you than to have him or her in your heart. We should pant after the love for Christ… not a love that flames up and then dies out into the darkness of a few embers, but a constant flame fed by sacred fuel, like the fire upon the altar which never went out. This cannot be accomplished except by faith. Faith must be strong, or love will not be fervent; the root of faith must be healthy, or we cannot expect the bloom of love to be sweet. If love is cold, be sure that faith is drooping.