1 Peter 4:13 ..to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.
Sometimes I have trouble seeing my stroke as sharing in the sufferings of Christ. I mean, it’s a physical happening, not something “noble” (like persecution) where I stood up for Christ and suffered 40 lashes or something. And yet, the stroke IS God’s will for me. (Tho’ I don’t see Him as the cause). It’s been death to me, certainly. Death in my physical self and my inward self. Just like it was for Christ. Jesus suffered because suffering was God’s will for Him. He came to do the Father’s will. I’m suffering because my Father needed my suffering too for His purposes, as He did His Son.
So, yea, I guess I’m suffering for the same reasons Jesus did, to do the Fathers’s will, be it “noble” in my eyes or not.
I’ve been thinking on the Peter verse. During the worst periods of suffering in my life, that’s when Jesus has always been the closest to me. So much so that when the suffering is over I’ve felt a sense of sadness at not needing Him so much; and not being with Him so much.
He really does reveal Himself to us in our sufferings and difficulties. He opens up and shares Himself. He gives us comfort. He gives us Light. He gives us glimpses of Who He Is. He speaks to us.
If we’re looking.
But, if our eyes stay on the suffering, we miss Him. If our eyes remain focused into the darkness, we won’t, by faith, see His glory; the brightness of His appearing to us in the trials, nor will we hear His thoughts.
Sometimes our sufferings are intense. It’s very hard to look up. Very hard to look away. But ….keep on rejoicing (which is not always a feeling of joy necessarily). Keep thanking God for the trial. Keep trusting that His heart is to bring you to Him and reveal Himself to you. Keep trusting that He will speak to and comfort you and BE God in your life. Keep Faith. Keep Hope.
And then, when He does appear to you and you are able to see Him, and hear Him, you will jump for joy and be beyond glad. 🙂