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The Fourth Sign: Pain (Part 1)

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“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18).

The great old hymn says,  “What a fellowship, what a joy divine; leaning on the everlasting arms! I have blessedness, what a peace is mine; leaning on the everlasting arms!” (Elisha J. Hoffman, 1887). What escaped my notice as a child, I now see clearly as a man. We are leaning on the everlasting arms not only because of our love, but also because of our limp.

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

You see, there are bumps in the road. Bumps, and potholes; pitfalls and ditches; stones and barriers; and bandits along the way. There are tunnels, long and dark, where even the light of His presence is undetectable. Oh, to be sure, He is there – but its just no longer obvious.

We all go through these stretches – if we are being led by the Spirit

The apostle Paul faces us over and over with the inescapable fact that we who follow Jesus are destined for glory, but must pass through the portals of suffering and pain on the way.

It was Paul who said, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18). The word sufferings means “to undergo some hardship or pain.”

Mind you, this was not an objective, theoretical  opinion held by the Apostle. Rather it was his own personal experience. A brief review shows that he was well acquainted with hardships aplenty.

“As servants of God we commend ourselves in every way,” he wrote. “In great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger”(2 Corinthians 6:4,5 NIV). And this was on a good day!

He vowed to the Philippians, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings” (ch 3:10). And then he wrote to the Colossians, “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church” (ch.1:24 NKJV).

The Greek word he used for suffering here is where we get our word sympathy. It means “to fully share in the interests or distress of another.”

If you are being led by the Holy Spirit, He will inevitably bring you to a place in your life where you fully share in the joys and heartbreaks of Jesus. This is a place of unspeakable privilege. It was John Nelson Hyde, missionary to India, who said, “To all and sundry we tell our joys; it is the privileged few, very near our hearts, to whom we tell our sorrows.”

Are you one whom the Lord can draw near unto Himself and entrust with a measure of His sorrows? Or, do you prefer to be around Him only when laughter fills the palace?

Be of good courage my travelling companion. Let’s talk more about this tomorrow.

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