We rejoice in our suffering, knowing that our suffering produces endurance. – Romans 5:3
This past Sunday, an absolute miracle happened. I went to an altar, an altar I had visited many times before, and finally and completely laid down the greatest hurt that I’ve known up until this point in my life. I have received some crushing blows in this life, but I honestly didn’t know if I would recover from this one. In true God fashion, all in a moment, all in His time, He once more took all of the junk I was carrying around. I left that place freer than I believe I’ve ever felt in my life. I have been rejoicing ever since.
Now, I sit here and stare at Paul’s words in Romans 5:3. The apostle Paul endured a minimum of 100 times anything that I will ever endure or experience. Here is why I am greatly convicted: I rejoiced so little during this past suffering. Now that I’m on this side of it, I feel like such a whiny wimp. I realize that there is a pride in me that can’t take anything being said about me or my family. I may be able to appear like it doesn’t bother me on the outside, but on the inside, it eats me alive. How could I honestly lay down my life for my Lord under real persecution if I can’t even handle words?
Lord, I so want to unleash this bold prayer and say, “Bring on the suffering! Test me again, Lord!” I just can’t bring myself to do it. If I’m honest, I like my American comforts. I like when all people speak well of me. I’m a people pleaser that can’t hardly take it if someone isn’t pleased with me. For the first time in my life, I hate this about myself. You have just taught me that you are going to come through for me every single time, you are going to comfort me, and you are going to heal all of my hurts . . . whether it be on this side of heaven or not does not matter. I should have been able to rejoice these past few months. I rejoiced so little. I failed the test so miserably. I should have been able to wholeheartedly sing praises to you no matter what. Truth be known, I’m an entitled, comfortable American. Help me, Lord. Make me bold. Fill me with Your Spirit so I will be like You. I don’t want to die like I am right now and enter into eternity this way. I feel like Peter must have felt right after he denied you. I feel like you have already completely restored me. Now, help me to die in a way that truly honors you and brings glory to Your Name. Like Paul, may I rejoice in my suffering from here on out. Teach me how, Lord. Do it in a way that I’ll really get it. Do it in a way that I’ll really do it. I love you more than anything else on this planet. I want nothing more in this life than to lift you up so that all people may be drawn to you. Please, please, please do a great work in my heart, my mind, and my life. Amen