It had been a very hard day. LeRoy’s pain has been intense, and I’m unable to alleviate his suffering. So far, I’m managing to be out of his line of vision when the tears start spilling. I’m not wanting to add to the weight he’s carrying right now. The time will come for us to cry together, but not yet. Right now, I need to continue to be a strong and smiling encouragement for him.
He told me this phrase has been running through his thoughts in his half-asleep state at night: “Don’t waste the suffering . . .”
And I assured him that he’s not.
He’s not wasting the pain, the laying down of himself in surrender to the Father’s will, he’s not wasting one moment of it. He’s interceding for others in his pain. He’s whispering Scriptures and worship songs—even through the pain, even when it’s only me and him, he’s showing me more of Christ as he moves further into the fellowship of sufferings with his Savior.
When he’s with others, just as he’s always done, he continues to gently shine the gospel—not as an obnoxious blinding investigator’s light—but as a steady candle’s warm glow.
He’s the same as always: kind, considerate, thinking of others, burdened with the care of the church—out of love for his flock, and placing other’s needs before his own. He’s the same as always, except for the pain and the debilitating illness that is sucking the life from his body.
This is hard.
In one of my teary, by myself moments, my precious Molly sent me a song and her timing was perfect. I’m grateful for her sensitivity to the Spirit. This song quotes from Job (remember the book God put on my heart to study for 2017?):
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him . . .” (Job 13:15)
Job didn’t understand the purpose of his suffering, not until the very end. But through his intense suffering, he worshiped, and he never doubted God’s righteous character . . . which is why the suffering was so confusing to Job. He felt he was undeserving of the amount of pain God was inflicting on him, but what he didn’t realize was that, the pain was performing a glorious work within him.
Job was experiencing that glorious work that only comes through the fellowship of suffering in the crucible of affliction with God.
This song closes with an audio clip from John Piper’s message: “The Glory of God in the Sight of Eternity,” where he describes the meaningful nature of pain and suffering.
“Every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience . . . matters.”
Piper uses 2 Corinthians 4:16–18 to challenge us to not look to what is “seen, but what is unseen” (this reference was my Scripture verse from 2016) and finally, “Do not lose heart!” which was the phrase in my personal focus passage from 2016 and this year’s Scripture passage:
[box]Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God we . . .
do not lose heart.
(2 Corinthians 3:17–4:1, emphasis mine)[/box]
Thank you, Molly, for ministering to me by sending us this song. May you, our precious blog readers, receive a comforting work of the Spirit, as well, as you listen: