Thursday, June, 22, 2017 | 8:31 AM | by ledington
Suffering and Hardship
Focus Scripture: 2 Corinthians 11: 16 – 33
Suffering. Hardship. These are not what we signed up for, right? Or did we?
In our material this week, the quote from Warren Wiersbe is key to understanding Paul’s perspective in this week’s scripture. This love that he is showing toward the Corinthian church is a parental love; equally paternal and maternal.
As you read this you can hear Paul switch from the Dad: “Oh, I see how you are. Ya know, just ‘cause your friends want to be reckless, doesn’t mean you’ve got be. You want to feel a snake bite? I‘LL let you feel a snake bite! Are they Hebrew, me too! Are they Israelites, me too. Are they children of Abraham, me too? Are they capable of being stupid, me too (just ask your mother.)”
Then, moving on to the Mom: “Do you KNOW what I have done for you? I have slaved in this position. I have been whipped, I have been stoned … and NO I do not mean like that. You pay attention to me; I have faced danger in more places than you know about just to protect YOU.” I don’t know about you, but I read verse 27, “I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm;” and I can hear my Mom (figuratively, not literally).
Speaking of Mom, I have a very distinct memory of calling her one day. Josh was about 3 years old. I do not remember what he did precisely, but whatever he did prompted a call to Mom. “Mom, I’m sorry.” “For what Sweetie?” “For whatever I did that ‘earned’ me having Josh ….” What Josh did was truly inconsequential. What was important was I learned that being a parent was not going to be necessarily easy sailing. By the way, she fell off her couch laughing ….
Parenting. The Cross. Walking the Christian Walk. Suffering. Hardship. When we are wide-eyed and naïve, it is easy to view suffering and hardship as being a negative, even a sign against us. But there comes a point … hopefully sooner than later … when we embrace the pain. The reality. The necessity of not only navigating the suffering and hardship, but also recognizing the power and growth potential that can only come by going through this crucible.
Nobody ever said this would be easy or convenient. That is why it is imperative that we take the advice of Proverbs 3: 5 – 6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not depend on your own insight; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your path.”