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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Weep With Those Who Weep

AND REJOICE with those who rejoice!  American Christians aren’t very good at either of these it seems. My girlfriend and I were talking about this today. She commented how her daughter felt like it might not be appropriate to post photos of a blessing on FaceBook (a nice car loaned to them while home for a couple of weeks before heading off to the mission field). I thought that it’s sad that, even with a pure heart and motives, many of us feel this caution because of those who make lifestyle judgments or for fear our blessings will cause jealousy in others. We should all rejoice when we see others blessed or prospering. God gives these presents — He should get the glory!

And God takes away. He still gets the glory. We weep with those who weep because sadness is real. Hurt and suffering and pain are real. And we are called to provide love and comfort. Yet again, there are many who keep these things quiet, hold in the pain and don’t share for fear of the legalistic judgmental ones who will try to point out just what sin is the reason for the hurt. Or if they avoid that wrongheaded business perhaps they are offered some trite and unscriptural “word of encouragement” that does no more to encourage or edify than last week’s newspaper.

So here we are: Hiding both joyful blessings and very real suffering when sharing both should be the call to action to our brothers and sisters to extend the appropriate response, resulting in deeper relationships with each other and plenty of opportunity to glorify our King.

Here is the verse in context in my Bible:

Marks of the True Christian

9Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.  (Romans 12)

Amen. May these be the marks of all of us!

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2012 in Joy, Love, Suffering, The Church

 

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Suffering

I have friends who have been without work for months, some wonder if homelessness is in their future.

I have friends who have been struck by cancer — one went undiagnosed for years, another whose five-year old is battling Leukemia, others with the “regular” kind of cancer cruelty…

Last week a friend of a friend’s child was abducted. They are frantically searching.

A few days ago my friend, a young single mom, emailed to say her house was broken into, precious things stolen, and her young children are traumatized.

Last month some folks were driving home from a retreat and their vans were involved in a horrific fatal highway accident that killed over 20 people. I met a woman at the airport this week whose granddaughter with her was in a car accident several days ago (drunk driver) and still very emotional.

An acquaintance is struggling with a crisis that if known fully might cause domestic violence.

What’s up? Doesn’t God care? If you follow Him, doesn’t He protect you from suffering? Maybe people like Joel Olsteen and Joyce Meyer would have you believe that. (I think Western Christians are about the only ones who do…) But I read a different Gospel. It’s not one where God desires that His followers suffer without reason, but is one that guarantees growth, provision, and the experience of a deeper abiding love when the suffering does come. The God I serve says, “I have spoken these things to you so that you shall have peace in me. You shall have suffering in the world, but take heart, I have overcome the world.”

Suffering belongs to the discipline of all Christ’s followers (Romans 8:172 Corinthians 1:7Galatians 3:4Philippians 3:101 Thessalonians 2:22 Thessalonians 1:52 Timothy 2:122 Timothy 3:12James 5:101 Peter 2:201 Peter 3:14, 17; 4:1, 13, 16; 5:10) and this fellowship in suffering unites us with the saints of God in all times (James 5:10). It is actually a fellowship with the Lord Himself (Philippians 3:10), who uses this discipline to mold us more and more according to His character.

“The rain falls on the just and the unjust.” We don’t like it and don’t always understand it, but it’s true. We see justice perverted, mean people prospering, and good people experiencing hardship upon hardship. But what we see is so very temporary. And God sees so much more. One day justice WILL be served, and suffering WILL end for those who follow Christ, and hurting believers WILL be healed and happy. And God will get the glory. All of it.

So we run to the Rock that is higher than us, we abide in the shelter of His wing, we feed on every word of God written for our benefit, we encourage one another, we intercede for each other, we comfort our hurting friends, and we, in turn, are comforted.

We give thanks. We praise Him in the storm. We watch as He turns mourning to rejoicing. We learn to find joy even between the tears. We grow more into His likeness day by day, and we give Him all the glory.

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2012 in Assurance, Prayer, Suffering, The Journey

 

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