Monday, January 22, 2007

When we suffer

Our church has experienced great suffering in the last 2 weeks that has most certainly refined us. Being in the Refiners fire is not always pleasant but does always produce that which God intended and that is for us to come out as gold and praise His great name.

Our pastor and his wife experienced their 3d miscarriage. We were so excited when she conceived! She was farther along than with the other 2 and things were going so well that we were sure that God would bring this pregnancy to full term. We were all devastated to learn that God had other plans when they received news that the baby had died. Certainly God is ultimately the One who orders our steps and makes His plans come to fruition no matter what we may plan. They have both been a testimony of God's grace as they have continued to praise God and bring glory to Him in the midst of their trail. They have remained faithful to their God and King.

A little over a week later our dear friend and co-laborer in the faith experienced a near fatal car accident. His wife happens to be my best friend and we have a long history of friendship together. She has been there for me in difficult times and now it's my turn to undergird her. It has been my pleasure to serve her and help her in this very difficult circumstance. Yes, it hurts me to see her suffer but I know that God is refining her and she is experiencing God's grace for each day. Their place at church will be empty for a long time but we will be reminded each time we meet for worship that God is teaching our body lessons as well that will refine us.

Our friend has a long road ahead of him and he will be able to see a functioning church body as we come to his aid and minister to him during a long recovery. We will never understand why God chose him, one who always brings joy and laughter to our lives, one who has a true and tender servants heart, one who is faithful to the Lord and his wife, one who wants desperately to see his father and son come to faith in Christ and yet how humbling that God would choose any of us to be His pawn as He works through the Holy Spirit to draw others to Him. This may be a part of the call to his son and father to repent and believe. Indeed, it is a pleasure to suffer for the cause of Christ if even just one comes to repentance.

If you are reading this as a believer, lift up a prayer for our dear friend, Ken, to the Great Physician on his behalf. Pray for God to use this tragedy to bring triumph over sin, by repentance and faith, for those watching. We are all going to be in the crucible of affliction at some time or another. Is it your desire to be used of God, tested and to come out as gold? Or will you gnash your teeth and scream your hatred at the Sovereign of the universe as His does his refining work in your life? If you are an unbeliever, beg Him to have mercy on you, repent and come to faith in Christ today!! You may not have tomorrow. In an instant your life could be snatched away and then you will believe in this Sovereign God!

Yes, it is good that we are afflicted, for God will get glory and use it for our good. Jesus was willingly afflicted for us, how can we do any less?

For Christ and His Kingdom,