Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Very Teeth of Suffering

"Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering. The love of God is of a different nature altogether. It does not hate tragedy. It does not deny reality. It stands in the very teeth of suffering. The love of God did not protect His own Son...He will not necessarily protect us - not from anything it takes to make us like His Son." (Elizabeth Elliot)
God's ways are so interesting. He reaches and changes us in strange ways. To us, it may seem like bullying, unfair, unnecessary, excessive or malicious even. But, how gentle and good the Lord is. Oftentimes, after I have learned a hard lesson, I think, "Did it really require that much pain?" But my good God is in the process of making something out of me. Something that this Ashley has yet to know. He is refining me. Yes, often its painful. But that's okay. I do long to be refined. I do long to be made into something else. I do long to be like Jesus Christ. Do you think an easy road will bring me to the place of picking up a cross, dying to myself and conforming to the image of Christ? Most definitely not!

My Christ-likeness requires fire.

And our response to that should be, "Bring it Lord! We walk with You!"

We can come out safe on the other side of this refining fire because of the love of God.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This deep love is too deep to protect us from everything. Sometimes, we need the pain of the world to bring us to an understanding of God and make us like Himself. Job came out on the other side of His trials and said, "Now my eyes see You." If the Lord helps us to see, know, feel and understand Him - then He has demonstrated His love in the most deep and personal of ways.

Joyous fellowship with God, all day long. Do what it takes to bring me to that, Lord!


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