Posted tagged ‘purpose of afflictions’

Be A War Profiteer

May 30, 2010

Armors and Shields

“I’m sorry I’m so much trouble to you–she said as I massaged her back. She had been greatly oppressed again, and her face showed the strain.

“Oh, the trouble of driving me to Jesus, to seek His face and increase my faith, and my confidence in Him, and the trouble of learning to pray with perseverance? Is that the trouble you’re sorry for? Silly girl!”

I am the one who needs to apologize, I think. I am a crass profiteer off the war going on about her.

But I first learned about not wasting these opportunities for reckless profit  in the midst of my own fight for faith. Now I am a happy mother of children, but it was not always so. In fervent devotion I once offered up my body as a living sacrifice, holding nothing back, not even my womb–but I naively thought the Father understood my severe deficits in the  mothering department, and he would go easy with the actual numbers he put in my charge, and all their accompanying challenges. As the body count began to rise, I whined, “Why in the world did you give me so many children, Lord?  If you knew already I would be so unskilled in the battle of bringing them up in your fear and admonition?”

Oh those terrible days of much mourning over losses. I shrank back and hid. I sought to escape.

Back then I looked for magic wands and formulas to rescue me from the consequences. At last, I let my trouble drive me to Him, and to His rest, in the ruins of my life. Why do we resist Him so? It was unbelief that made me lose nearly everything before I finally surrendered to Him. But I have learned through much affliction to love and trust Him, and believe His word. God knows what blessings He can trust us with, and how much of a load of these gifts’ corresponding care and concern we can bear. He is looking for faith among those ruins. I have learned to pray, and I say to Him often enough, “Lord, either lighten the load, or strengthen my back!” But a load borne with faith is easy and light. And its weight is measured with joy.

So, I agree with David Wilkerson, who this week declared, “any affliction that keeps me from going astray—that drives me deeper into his Word—is healing. God’s most gracious healing force spiritually and physically can be afflictions. To suggest that pain and affliction are of the devil is to suggest that David was driven by the devil to seek God’s Word.”

So I no longer refuse Him who speaks to me so directly in the calamities He brings. He speaks so strongly and clearly to me in them, to come to Him, to cast my care upon Him, to rest in His unfailing Love. Affliction has been very good to me.

But there is no greater pain for a parent than to watch his child struggle under the weight of great loads we ourselves have learned with great suffering to bear. We long to rescue them–I long to save from  sorrows this blessing child whose aching shoulders I now massage, this girl who had just cleaned my room as a great surprise for me while I had been away and had broken one of my most prized possessions, a picture frame holding a hand-calligraphied portion of Isaiah 42. She had been dusting and the frame had fallen, and she was heartbroken–she knew how much it meant to me. How guilty she felt, and she couldn’t tell me.

She will learn for herself in time what are the real trophies of faith — the treasures that bear the marks of  further tests of faith– the marks of afflictions sent not to crush us, but to lead us to Him. She will learn that resting in Him is a glorious kind of overcoming. She will understand how the broken glass she mourns for is like the world that is passing away– but we have to look through those broken shards to see the enduring promises beyond.

Faith is a triumph of seeing. We take our eyes off the broken glass, the problems and cares and woes of life, and all that the Destroyer hurls our way in the sovereign will of God, and fix our gaze on the Word that He promises us will never return empty. This is all of grace. In the midst of the battle, in all the confusion and fear and lack of faith, he still will bless. Trials train our souls.

I would not trade these fierce battles for a life of ease — if only His presence goes with me and gives rest. For I am a War Profiteer.

Pressed Close, Pressed Down

August 18, 2009
Mercury column to measure pressure, scale in m...

Image via Wikipedia

I am contending for the life of another, and the pressure is almost unendurable.  Hudson Taylor said, “It doesn’t matter, really, how great the pressure is; it only matters where the pressure lies. See that it never comes between you and the Lord–then the greater the pressure, the more it presses you to His breast.”  The pressure lies in a good place, I am close to His heart now, and that is what enables me to endure.   I am being pressed into the cross for another; pressed into its life, and then laid close to that one, to come between them and the enemy’s assignment of death.  It is body to body, I am  like Elijah laying on the lifeless  boy he helped to birth, waiting on God to bring  breath back into him. Elijah was just flesh like me, and I can endure it  if he  did.   I  wait, get up, pace around and pray, go back and lay on the body again.  Oh how great the pressure is, I feel the sentence of death so deeply sometimes, and how gladly I would  suffer its penalty fully for my dear one!

This must be that mystery, the  fellowship of the Cross, the fellowship of His afflictions.  This intimacy with Jesus is most sweet.   I would not trade it for peace and plenty.   (Okay, sometimes, when the pain is awful, and I quake in fear and failing.  I am but flesh, and this lump of dust tends to seek its own).

But I would not trade this suffering when it produces this kind of life in me:  when I finished my prayers the other night, I said to the Lord something,  in a way I have never said before, “I love you so much!”  I didn’t say it worshipfully, but in the affectionate and comfortable way I murmur in my little girls ears when I tuck them into bed.   I, worm that I am,  was shockingly familiar with the Most High God!  Yet there was deep reality behind those words so carelessly spoken.

Two children with hops basket

And this is the most amazing thing: I felt as though the Spirit drew in His breath with a gasp of delight.   I sensed His deep pleasure, and I was cosy in that glow as I drifted off to sleep, so safe in His love.  I can go on such soul’s nourishment for many more days.  I smile even now as I think of it.  It was a good measure of  His love, given back in return,  pressed down, shaken together spilling out all  over, and out it  will go into the laps of the ones to whom He has drawn me close.