April 16, 2019
Good Morning Fellow Travelers,
Read: II Corinthians 6
“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Hebrews 5:8-9
How does suffering teach obedience? How does suffering in the flesh cause one to cease from sin (I Peter 4:1)? How does beauty come from ashes? How does pain cause one to focus on Christ, when an illness requires the added dimensions of caring for one’s body? Isn’t this a focus on self? How does that grow our love for the Savior? How does suffering perfect us? How is each moment of pain a treasure eternally gained?
There are some God-honoring aspects to suffering. Suffering makes us sensitive. Our spiritual “nerve endings” are sensitized by the suffering. We become more sensitive to life and its preciousness, its fragility, its beauty.
Suffering makes us more in tune to thoughts of our eternal home. It draws us to heaven. I observed this one day when I carried some books to my aging, suffering father. The books were good books and he loved to read. He took the books, one by one, reading only the title and then laying each one aside. His response amazed me. “I’m too close to heaven to read these books.” He was keenly sensitive how close he was to his eternal home, and to meeting his Lord. Terminal illness makes us become more perceptive.
Suffering deepens our perception of what obedience means and how sin separates us from God. Victory becomes the yearning focus of our hearts in new ways, such as deliverance from complaining. We lean more desperately on the grace that is sufficient to see us through each day. One becomes more thankful. We love the Savior more. Our perception of kindness deepens. Love for others becomes a reality as we are the recipient of their patient toil and sacrifice for us. Suffering becomes a gift, too precious to squander.
– James Baer