Day 64 – Opportunity in Suffering
Brother Lawrence wrote, “I did not ask for relief but for the strength to suffer courageously, humbly, and lovingly. . . . Ah, how sweet it is to suffer with God! No matter how great the pain is, accept it with love, for suffering is a paradise as long as we are with him. . . . When we are attentive to God . . . suffering will no longer be anything but sweetness, balm, and consolation.”
Rather than seeking relief from suffering, Brother Lawrence is more interested in using it as an opportunity to know God.
Have you ever considered suffering as an opportunity?
Perhaps on the ledger of life, once you had a strong bank account, a great job, an exciting career – now it’s gone. Once you enjoyed serving the Lord in some significant ministry – now that’s gone. Once you were surrounded by close family members and caring friends – now they’re gone. Once you felt an intimacy with God – now even that is gone.
You wonder: What happened? Where did I go wrong? Has God forgotten me? Has he left me all alone?
Facing spiritual dryness, emotional despair, physical difficulties, mental desperation – the apparent absence of God’s presence, voice, and direction – did you once think of the word “opportunity”?
We might think that if God gave us something, he wouldn’t take it away. Yet when Old Testament Job lost everything, he said, “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21). That’s a very big “and”.
In your suffering, you can, with Job, give honest and heartfelt praise to our sovereign Lord who gives and takes away.
Through suffering, you can go deeper with God. Through suffering, you can reach higher for God. In your suffering, you can bring his presence near. In your suffering, you can place God in the center of it all.
With Brother Lawrence, “accept it with love, for suffering is a paradise as long as we are with him.”
Making your heart a spiritual temple to worship God continually, even while suffering, brings heaven to earth.
And in your suffering, God is tenderly present with you.
Action Step: Say with a courageous faith: “Wherever I am, in spite of everything, whatever happens, God is here with me!”
This is God’s Word for you today,