“For it has been GRANTED to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him but also to SUFFER for him…” (Phil 1:29)
Honestly, I remember praying for my friends–asking God to give them this MIND…that the suffering was granted…a permissive gift. I didn’t understand, but prayed they’d have enough strength and vision to keep walking. At the same time, I did thank God that for this moment our family was not suffering. We SEE suffering daily…walk alongside, but we were not in a season of suffering. But, the FALL came. And so did our own personal season of suffering. Not the first and not the last, I am sure…but we were called with the news of the deepest suffering we had witnessed among our family. Dave’s mom was diagnosed with Pancreatic Caner almost one year ago today. The season that followed brought deeper grief and deeper dependence than our family has every known…but we know our Jesus more. We love our family in deeper ways, and I think God took us a few steps closer to the cross in sharing in some of His sufferings.
This family of mine, we’re always falling. But we fall together. This Fall has been another NEW season…I was prepared to not be prepared. And I was prepared for us to fall, but sometimes the falling is so much, so often and so hard…but HE always picks us up. He always restores…He always sets our feet (our many feet right again)…I’m amazed at the mercies renewed each morning…The last of these FALL seasons taught us much of what we must allow in the dying and the releasing to watch New Life spring forth. SO with cautious eagerness, I re-entered life here in Soddo.
We know how to do this FALLING together…we are a broken mess…we are falling more in love. We are falling closer to Him. Some days don’t feel like the proximity or the depth is increasing, but I believe it is happening by His grace through all of this. I’ve realized I don’t love messes, or broken things, or my own broken ness, but my sweet Heavenly Father does. He sees greater opportunity to love me, to forgive me…for HIS Life to be more in me, and mine to fall away…
All these transitions, moving, losses…most books would say our family should be falling apart, my kids a mess, all of us in counseling…but we have a Counselor who has met us in our grief, a Father who has held our tears and who wakes us with new love and renewed vision. IN all this uncertain life, HE IS. He never fails, He never falls…Everything else can and will, but we are IN CHRIST, and we are loved. We can move forward, unafraid of falling because of His consistent strength and love.
Could the grace actually be in this falling and suffering…in identifying with our Savior, even in small ways…or enormous ways…in our daily sins, in our deepest grief? Could it be that HE would so grace us with the gift that even the suffering could draw us closer to His Heart, to His cross…a little closer to heaven?
AND WE REJOICE IN THE HOPE OF THE GLORY OF GOD. NOT ONLY SO, BUT WE ALSO REJOICE IN OUR SUFFEREINGS, BECASUE WE KNOW THAT SUFFERING PRODUCES PERSEVERANCE; PERSEVEANCE, CHARACTER; AND CHARACTER, HOPE. AND HOPE DOES NOT DISAPPOINT US, BECAUSE GOD HAS POURED OUT HIS LOVE INTO OUR HEARTS BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHOM HE HAS GIVEN US. ROMANS 5:2-5