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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Disce pati

Learn to suffer.  That's what those two little Latin words mean...learn to suffer.

I met with a group of nine ladies Monday evening to discuss chapter one of "Does Grace Grow Best in Winter?" by Ligon Duncan.  The chapter's title is "Why Me?".  

Have you ever asked yourself that question in the heat of a trial?  We all agreed that we certainly had!

Suffering is to be expected, because of the sinful world we live in and the sinful nature we still battle on a daily basis.  Mr. Duncan says, "None of us should ever be surprised by suffering.  Instead, when it comes our way, we ought to be saying, 'I've been waiting and preparing for you.  I knew you were coming, because this fallen world is full of the likes of you. I've been preparing, by God's grace and by God's Word to glorify God as I experience you.'  The question remains, will you suffer in a way that honors Christ."

Mr. Duncan gives five things we need to learn in order to suffer well:
1.  Magnify Jesus
      "You must learn how to suffer in such a way that Christ will be great in 
        your eyes and in the eyes of all who see your suffering."
2.  Love Him more
     "Every single experience, good or ill, is designed by our loving heavenly 
       Father to cause us to prize Jesus Christ more and more."
3.  Know that God is for you
     "You need to know that even in your darkest days God is still 100 
       percent for you.  He is not against you, and everything that you need
       to endure, you already possess in Christ Jesus."
4.  Rest on grace
     "Learn to suffer knowing that you are accepted by grace through faith, 
      apart from anything that you do either before or after your 
5.  Embrace suffering
     "Talk about shaking the world our of its slumber - if we were a band of
       brothers and sisters in Christ dying yet living, suffering yet rejoicing, 
       sorrowful yet full of inexpressible joy, what a comfort it would be to us
       what a glory it would be to God, and what a witness it would be to the

We had a wonderful discussion about what the lost world would see and know of Jesus if we as believers learned to suffer well.  God doesn't waste our suffering.  It is meant to strengthen our faith and the faith of those around us.  But most importantly it is to glorify God.

How many times have you found yourself in the midst of very difficult circumstances and you've thought "I've gotta fix this."  And you begin to think "Ok, how can I get out of this. I don't like this."  Our group talked about how especially as women and mothers, we are "fixers".  We want all to be well in our world and the world of those we love and care for.

One of the passages we read Monday night was Romans 8:28-29:
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."

What do you mean when you use the word "good"?

In the original Greek the word good in this passage means:
What is the goal in the Romans passage:  "to be conformed to the likeness of his Son".

We are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus!

A parenting devotional I got in my email last week said this in response to Romans 8:28:
"Our response to painful situations in life demonstrates the level of trust we have in God."  Let that sink you respond to difficulty demonstrates the level of trust you have in God.
The devo went on to say:  "Trials are not to be avoided or dodged as much as they are to be endured for the sake of the lesson.  Asking God the right question in the middle of a trial is an expression of your trust in Him.  The question shouldn't be how am I going to get out of this?, but what am I going to get out of this.  By changing the 'how' to 'what', we illustrate our dependence on God to teach us and our willingness to learn."

After this our group had a lively discussion about trusting in God and using "other" resources i.e. Christian counselors, lawyers in legal situations, etc.
The question arose:  If I am whole heartedly trusting God like I should is it a lack of trust in Him to lean on these "other" resources.

So, what do you think about this?  I would  be interested to hear your thoughts!

I reminded the ladies about all that scripture has to say about waiting on the Lord, and how that does not mean we sit with our hands folded in our laps and look up and say, "Ok God.  I trust you and I'm waiting on you.  I'm just gonna sit here and wait on you."  

We are fighting a battle against the enemy of our souls who only wants to steal, kill, and destroy.  We are in a contest for the glory of God every day of our lives.

What are we to do while we wait?  I think John Waller has a good grasp of this...

Counting it all Joy,