Life of Sufferings

It is a well established fact that our human condition is one of suffering. The only thing worse than suffering is the desolation of going through our suffering alone. It is a comfort of exceptional magnitude to know that our God is one that is touched by the feeling of our weakness. Today, having passed through pain and suffering of the acutest kind He is seated at the right hand of God interceding for us in our hour of need. Because He is our great High Priest and also our Pneumatic Comforter we have a friend to whom we can confide all the worries in our heart, all the needs of our soul, all the anxieties which vex and trouble our mortal bodies. He inclines toward us His listening, loving ear, hearing all our sighings, and even our complaining. Yes, in fact, He loves to hear us complain to Him because through each heaving breath He is able to sooth our bruised souls and tenderly add more of His life element into us. I have always enjoyed this fact, that I have someone to whom I can complain about everything.

Today, however, I read this:

“The first important lesson we must learn is that whenever we are in a situation of suffering ordained by the Lord, we must acknowledge God’s sovereignty. If we do not acknowledge God’s sovereignty in our situation, we cannot be at peace. Instead, we will be resistant and unhappy, we will protest and complain that things are not fair. Our being will be in a state of turmoil, and we will begin to doubt God because of the sufferings that we are passing through. However, once we touch God in His sovereignty, everything will change. We will feel as if we have emerged from night to day. The outward situation may not have changed, but our knowledge of God’s sovereignty will cause everything within us to be different. Acknowledging God’s sovereignty is a great lesson that we all must learn. It will cause us to be at peace, to be obedient, and to say Amen to our situation. After all, our situation has been raised up for us under God’s sovereign hand. In this way we can see beyond our present situation, see God’s hand, and even realize God’s mind.” (Crystalization Study of the Psalms (1) msg 11.)

Yes, the Lord is there when we are complaining to Him, He listens, He cares. But I realized after reading this that if we are so busy complaining about our situation, we are not open to listening to what He has to say to us. However, if we acknowledge, in whatever situation we are in, His sovereignty over that particular situation, we become open to receiving His speaking, we are open to seeing beyond what lies just in front of us and we see God’s hand, we can apprehend God’s mind. In this way we can enter into the very heart and mind of God, we can know all His secrets, even all that is in His heart for us.

How do we become this type of person? Just grin and bear it? Just religiously repeat a mantra of “God is sovereign, everything happens for a reason, etc”? No. But there is a person whose life was a life of suffering, whose life was plagued with sorrows, and yet someone whose entire being was always submissive and obedient to God even unto death. We see this man in Psalm 69 (vs 1-3; 19-20): “Save me, O God; for the waters/ Threaten my life./ I sink in deep mire,/ And there is no place to stand;/ I have come to the depths of water,/ And the flood flows over me./ I am weary of my crying;/ My throat is parched;/ My eyes fail/ While I wait for my God…You know my reproach/ And my shame and my humiliation;/ All my adversaries are before You./ Reproach has broken my heart,/ And I am sick;/ I looked for pity, but there was none;/ And for comforters, but I found none.” This was the life of the Man of Sorrows. In his epistle to the Philippian believers, Paul writes: “To know Him.” This is to know the Man of Sorrows. Today this is our desperate need. To know, in a deep and experiential way this person. Know Him and the power of resurrection because it is only through His life and the power of His resurrection life that we can look at our complicated situation, at our sufferings, our problems and acknowledge the sovereign hand of God working in that very thing to gain every inch of our being.