I’m in a place of contemplating – Suffering. Gulp!
I think I struggle to even speak this word aloud. I wrangle with the implications and shrink back.
I consider the life of a Christian in the Western world as compared to a believer who lives where Isis roams the land and kills even children who profess Christ. Do we truly suffer in the Western World for our faith? Do we suffer in our marriages to unbelievers? Geeze, these thoughts mess with your head.
The answer? Yes and no.
It’s never an easy answer, is it?
Yes, we suffer for our faith. No, we don’t suffer the threat of death for our faith today. But tomorrow, who knows? Yet the anguish in our lives and marriages over our faith in Jesus is very real.
I remember a long time ago I met an older woman once a week at a tiny little diner in our town. We met for breakfast and she poured her love and wisdom into me over hotcakes and steaming coffee. I remember carrying on and on about my sad and difficult marriage. Oh how I complained about every little offense committed by my unbelieving husband and I moaned about some insignificant injustice in our relationship (sarcasm intended.)
That was until one morning when it dawned on me that Jenny buried her teenage daughter. Her daughter died before she graduated from High School of Cystic Fibrosis. I stopped short in our conversation, ashamed, and said, “Oh Jenny, here I am complaining about this stupid stuff and you buried your daughter.” Tearily I said, “Please forgive me. If anyone here has a reason to be complaining, it’s you.”
Jenny smiled so gently at me as she always did. Her eyes twinkled when she smiled and she speaks one of the wisest and helpful sentences I’ve ever heard. “Lynn, your pain and what you experience is just as difficult. It’s not worse or better. It’s just different.” In those words, she gave me permission to have pain. I didn’t need to pretend it wasn’t there just because it wasn’t the same as someone else.
So my suffering may be different than yours but to the Lord, it’s suffering and He feels it along with us.
Sometimes it’s easy for us to forget that Jesus was a man. He experienced suffering. And when we think about Jesus’ suffering, our mind usually goes to the cross. And the Cross WAS TERRIBLE. But have you thought about what it felt like to Jesus when He was betrayed? Betrayal is at its core -pain. It is rejection, dismissal, a knife in the back all rolled into one. He was betrayed because of His faith. He suffered and was persecuted because of His faith.
We as the mismatched also walk this path of suffering. We are ridiculed because of our faith by the very person or persons who we should expect to always defend us. We feel betrayed and rejected by the one person on the plant who was supposed to love and honor us always. Ouch. Praise the Lord Jesus because forgiveness overcomes all betrayal.
My friends, we walk our fair share, or maybe more than our fair share, of suffering in this world.
In the suffering is where we find the gold. And it’s the gold that is spoken of in Revelation. We are earning our gold that will make us rich. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself. Revelation 3:18-19
So, could it be our suffering is by design? Could it be that we were placed into our unequally yoked marriages with purpose? What do you think? See you in the comments. This is gonna be good. Also, what did you think of that passage in Revelation? Read to the bottom of the chapter. It ROCKS! Hugs, Lynn