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If You're Not Suffering....Start Worrying.

"It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young. Let him sit alone in silence, for the LORD has laid it on him. Let him bury his face in the dust— there may yet be hope. Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace. For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone." Lamentations 3:26-33

When that was written, the people were suffering. They'd been rounded up like cattle, their homes and city conquered and destroyed and carted off to Babylon as exiles. Are you suffering? Does it seem unending? Have you known affliction so long and so much you don't think you'd know how to even live without it? Sinking fast?

Good! That's not only great news, but it's also a good sign.

No, I'm not crazy or heartless. I've been through it too and will probably be thrown in the crucible several more times before it's over. Iff you've been following around prosperity teachers and others whose teachings are full of worldly philosophy, pop-psychology, coddling and a watered down Gospel, "Good" isn't exactly what you expected or wanted to hear. I probably do come off as heartless. Nevertheless, God does have control over our suffering. It didn't come without His knowledge and He allows it for specific purposes.

God uses suffering to teach and discipline. He also uses it to draw us to Him. God will not only make us marinate in suffering, but He expects us to do it silently. As humans, it's natural for us to complain, whine, freak out, try to fix things ourselves or be confused, but as Christians all of these things are sin.

"For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters." Romans 8:29

God predestined us to be built into Christ's image, nothing else. He didn't choose or predestine us because we have great hair, a way with words, charismatic, pretty or have specific talents He can utilize. He chose for His own reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with us or about us and it's for the sole purpose to conform us into the image of Christ. That conformity can only come through suffering.

When have you ever been changed or learned valuable lessons when times were good? When times are good we always become complacent, lazy and indifferent. We learn very little. It's when things go down the drain does the real education and change happen. We're always willing to accept good from God, but when He brings trials and affliction for purposes of discipline and training, we sulk, whine and lose faith. When is discipline from any stand point "fun"? Any time I was ever disciplined I never thought "Man this is great! Tack on another week to my groundment Dad! I love it!" or "Hit me again grandma! I wanna see the pretty stars again!"

All discipline is necessary and vital. If we are Believers then we should expect trials and suffering for discipline and training. But if you don't face much suffering or affliction then I say to you: examine yourself to see whether you really are a genuine Believer. If your life is just peachy and successful most of the time that is a serious cause to worry about your relationship with God according to the Bible. Not suffering is a red flag that a relationship with God is non-existent.

“'My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son.'”
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.  Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:5-11

King Solomon offered good advice for us...

"When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future." Ecclesiastes 7:14

 Affliction makes us re-evaluate. It makes us think, examine ourselves and consider, not just our situation and lifestyle, but also our relationship with God. Then it moves us closer to God, dependent on Him and that bond is strengthened. Only that relationship is eternal. Everything else is uncertain and temporary. If you've been met with one struggle after the other, it's temporary. This life is the closest you or I will ever get to Hell. That puts trials in a whole new perspective. When we consider what millions of other Christians go through daily and how they suffer, our suffering will seem small and insignificant in comparison.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:2-3

"In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." 1 Peter 1:6-7

God never promised an easy life to anyone. That's what counting the cost of following Christ was. (Luke 14:28-34) It's a hard life, it's a disciplined life, it's a struggle, full of trials and affliction and will cost you everything. It may even cost you your life. The crucible is not a play ground. That fire is going be hot when we get plunged in and it's going to hurt, but there's no other method for removing impurities from gold like fire. It's absolutely necessary.

Lastly, since we are being conformed to the image of Christ and we're to follow His example...

"Although he was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered" Hebrews 5:8

Christ, though the Son, learned obedience through suffering as to be an example to us and the firstborn among many. If Christ suffered to be taught obedience, how can we not expect to suffer? Obedience is only taught through discipline and sometimes that discipline must come through a harsh rod. If it seems that God has been beating the daylights out of you lately, don't whine or complain to others. Don't freak out or throw a tantrum. Rejoice! It means you're His. But if you haven't really experience suffering or affliction in your walk, now's the time to worry.


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Disclaimer: I do not condone the teaching of men by women nor am I trying to exercise authority over men by using this blog as a method of teaching men. All posts are for the edification of women. For more on what I believe concerning this issue please see: Women - No Dominion Over Men
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