As I venture through this book-writing process, I definitely don't want to do it alone. I would love to take you on this journey with me. So as I continue to write, I will be tossin' up excerpts RIGHT HERE on the blog for those interested.
This first one seems appropriate as a lot of you might not understand the title of my book, The Gift of Suffering. Also, I really want to unpack this timely thought. Many are suffering around me, many are suffering in the world. There is hope. This suffering is not in vain.
Excerpt from The Gift of Suffering
So, how do I tell someone who is battling cancer, lost a child, or lives in depression that what they are going through is a gift? How? I can try my best, I truly can, but I know someone who says it so much better than I ever could or will…
“Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want...Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.” - 1 Peter 4:1-2 & 12-13, MSG
Jesus went through EVERYTHING we are going through. There was a time when I didn’t think a single soul understood what the physical pain felt like, what emotions were terrorizing my entire being, what anxious thoughts paralyzed my mind and body, or what spiritual battles I was encountering…BUT Jesus. Jesus Christ is the one true being AND God who does understand. He felt it. He faced the ultimate fears. He battled in His mind. He battled Satan himself face to face. Suffering is a gift because Jesus is a gift. Meditate on that for a second. Literally at this moment, I am having to stop and bury my face into my hands. Tears are swelling up, Tremble by MosaicMSC is playing in the background, and I am overcome with emotion as I dwell on the gift my Jesus is to me. You see, while I have walked through suffering not by choice, He CHOSE to walk through it all because His love for me is that big, that deep, that wide. Suffering on my behalf, for my sin, is the greatest gift of all time; therefore, suffering like Jesus did is a gift. Will you receive that gift?
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13, NASB