"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58)

Behold The Man!

Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, "Behold the man"! (John 19:1-5 KJV)

Krystal Meyers - The Beauty of Grace

Suffering--A Blessing? An Honor?

Father, let my prayer be ever before You. This I ask of You: Do not let me be lead astray by a lie, or the father of lies. Do not let me be ashamed at Your coming. Lord, give me the grace to accomplish Your purpose for my life on this earth. Do not let me come to You emptied handed. Bless me, Lord, so I may be a blessing to others.

This prayer, written March 11, 2007, has been a repetitive plea in my life—probably in yours, also. As I recently pondered upon this thought I realized that one way I am to be a blessing to others is through shared suffering.

A strange and quite foreign concept for most, but if you have been a believer for any length of time you have already come to the realization that God's ways are simply not our ways!

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 tells us, " Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."

How can we possibly empathize with another's sorrow, pain and suffering if we have not experienced these same griefs ourselves? How can we offer hope and Light at the end of the tunnel, if God has not shown His great mercy toward us first?

My sufferings differ from yours. Still, I have experienced pain...the lost of a precious loved one...rejection...the lost of a dream or a desire...regret...abuse...hunger…feelings of being unloved—the list could go on and on! Precious one, it is because God permitted me to experience such sorrows that I can tell you there is hope and new, abundant life on the other side of your suffering! That hope and abundant life is found in and through our Lord, Jesus Christ!

Like others before me, I have walked though the valley of the shadow of death (referring to suffering, not death itself). I emphasize through because God did not fail me by leaving me in the valley! Jesus Christ is the Light at the end of the tunnel. God never allowed me, nor He will never allow you to suffer more than you can bear! Looking back, I understand that all my sorrow has always worked out for my good! Oh, dear one, yours will, too!

Good? Yes! Would have I thought so going while I was walking through the pain? Before I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and much earlier in my walk with Him my response would have been a resounding, "No!" Maturity is a great teacher. Suffering is the greatest teacher! Now, (well, at least sometimes) when I am faced with bitter sorrow, suffering or trials I try to look past the circumstances to God's planned and intended purpose for my life. Then, I find I am able to pray and wait for His deliverance!

Does God always reveal His purpose and plan? No. That is when I just continue to walk and abide in Him. This is where trust and faith step in!

I grew up in relative poverty, in a very dysfunctional family. (Long before anyone knew what the term "dysfunctional" meant—I lived it!) I suffered from feelings of being unwanted, unloved—misunderstood. For a good portion of my life I lived with a terrible emptiness, an ache. What might God's purpose have been for allowing such pain in my life?
Always, in my life and in yours, God's ultimate purpose is to draw us to Himself! Then, the spiritual insight produced through the experience of our own suffering compels us to offer the truth of God's love and the assurance of His faithful deliverance—to others! Kind of a spiritual "circle of life" thing!

Have you suffered abuse, be it emotional, physical and/or sexual in nature? Others have experienced those same deep wounds! Have your known the pain of betrayal, rejection? Others know that hurt. Do you have a stronghold of sin, a sinful habit, an addition in your life? Others have walked down that same dark, lonely road.

Oh, please hear this! Not only have God’s children survived, they have thrived! Like mighty oaks they have risen up out of the miry pit of their suffering, pain and sorrow. Beloved, you can, too!

It helps to remember that any trial we face, any suffering we are called upon to endure has been personally "hand-sifted" by Almighty God! His reasoning, His purpose is always good, pure and wise. We can trust that He has our best interest at the center of His heart. Blessedly, God is in control of our circumstances That evil one called satan may come against us but he cannot do so without God's permission. I know that what you are going through must seem unbearable, but imagine those same circumstances without God's protective covering in your life—now that is a frightening thought! Someone once pointed out, "God permits what He hates to achieve what He loves".

It is impossible for an unbeliever to trust in the faithfulness of a God they cannot see—that takes faith. Faith is believing in, trusting fully in the "Unseeable One". Your non-belief keeps you from having any hope through life's difficult trials. If this is the case in your life, I pray that you will trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior—without delay! He Who is calling you, He Who is reaching out to you in your suffering is called Faithful and True!

As believers, we have the truth of God's precious promises, "For the Lord thy God is a merciful God; he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee." We are admonished to "be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them, for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."

While it is true that we learn, grow and support one another in our suffering, suffering has another purpose—a deeper, a higher, a more noble purpose. That purpose is to bring glory to our Lord, Jesus Christ!

God reveals His majesty in Exodus 33:18-23; 34:1-8. Isaiah 45:5-7 God reveals that there is none other beside Him. Throughout scripture the LORD speaks of His graciousness and compassion toward us. Yet, in Philippians 1:29, the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul says, "It has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him." Take heart, you are being molded, shaped into the likeness of God's own precious Son! (Romans 5:3)

Take time to carefully read 2 Corinthians 4:7-18. Jesus is living through us in the midst of our suffering, in the midst of our circumstances. Oh, let us entrust ourselves into the Potter's hands! He is trustworthy! He is our Abba, Father—our Daddy God!

One more thought regarding suffering. Please don't ever dismiss someone else's pain as something trivial. If God has placed that person in your path, then their pain is important to Him! Always take the time to listen and pray. Don't send someone away emptied handed.