Tuesday, August 19

Savor Suffering

“I never had a trial I wanted to have, but I never had a trial I wasn’t glad I had.” Dr. Jack Hyles

Spontaneity often leads to the splendor of unplanned memories.
It happened to our family this morning. The girl in me blurted out, “Let’s go for a bike ride and have prayer time in the park!”
It's soothing to have a husband that responds to sudden impulse from his wife. I'm very blessed.
We took off on our bikes to Wicker Park. It was a gorgeous day. The combination of a gentle breeze, little humidity, and perfect company, uncovered a moment in time we shall never forget. Apart from Caleb cutting in front of me and landing on my back in the grass, we enjoyed each other tremendously. In fact, my fall was soft and part of the fun we all experienced.
As we arrived and dismounted from our bikes, there, nestled among the grandeur-wooded trees was a picnic table recessed away from the buzz of exercising feet.
We took a moment to reflect on thoughts presented from the preaching on Sunday. It was then I looked up. The trees were holding hands. Their thick branches were overlapped with a rich canopy of green stretching forever across the park. The sun flickered through pockets of little openings, beams of light hitting the ground and painting the grass with clusters of leafy shadows. Squirrels raced each other up and down thick trunks. Birds worked feverishly, then rested and nestled in the branches.
It was glorious and I surrendered to the tears welling up.
It suddenly occurred to me after a friend had reached out with a heart rendering text that she was not alone and neither are we. There were no words to respond to her pain-filled message. My thoughts fell short of her God-sized need for comfort and any attempt on my part would devalue her suffering. It was best to be silent. I acknowledge the text but did not respond with a solution.
No response is indeed a response and often the more elegant reply. Far easier it is for us to respond without taking the time to consider the sender’s words and deeper need at the time. If you don’t know what to say, pause and pray your way to words of encouragement. Less is often best. We do not know it all.
With a heart that broke inside for her, tears falling and mouth quivering, I looked up and whispered, “She’s not alone. We never are." Somehow, we are united through suffering in a way that far exceeds the bond of affection we feel through many friendships.
Our suffering glues us at a heart-level to others and is synonymous with the surrounding trees.
Look up when you hurt the most. Look at the deep-rooted timber and the branches stretching across to hold hands. It’s a canopy of splendor, cascading light, and shadows that splash across the grass like an artist with a paintbrush carefully completing his or her masterpiece.
We’re not alone. We never are!”
Life is often routine and very predictable. God often reminds me through His creation, that during times of deep heartache and loneliness, we do have company.
We can learn a lot by looking up. His landscape is full of lessons.
The sense of darkness during suffering is often an eclipse caused from the pain of what we are experiencing and often a misperception of the facts.
Living for any length of time in a state of anguish can be lonely and tiring however, we must look up and consider that God's angle is very different. We are all a work in progress and His handiwork, you and I, are a true work of art.
We must listen to the voice of truth during our prayer time and Bible reading. He makes everything crystal clear.
As a Believer, we are a stunning creation synonymous with a splendid tree. The leaves on our branches are green and plump in proportion to our food source. Roots grow deep when we drink from God’s well. His Word must nourish us each day or we will wither from the heat of every trial.
The sap of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit that dwells in us, runs through the Believer’s bough and breathes life into the fruit and indeed the surrounding atmosphere.
The light filtering through the canopy reminded me, that when we look up to God and say, “I hurt but I trust you,” it filters truth and opens our eyes to the adjoining trees overlapping our branches.
We are never alone.
There is glory in our deepest pain. Getting alone with God will sustain you. It is vital! He is our husbandman and the pain is all part of preparing you for His purpose and glory.
Reach out to others during your grief. Getting alone with God will definitely revive you but you must transfer your hurt at the foot of an old rugged cross. Jesus paid for it all.
The loneliness is often the distance created by grief and feelings of despair. It is good to grieve, but healing comes in proportion to how we water and feed our souls from God’s Word.
Pencil your thoughts and present them to God. Every tear matters to Him.
Drink from His well and look up. Your branches connect to others. Reach out! Your pain is organic and your life is producing even when you can't sense it.
Let go of the fear, release the anger, and look up to Him in faith. Your tree must be synonymous with a life that bears fruit all season.
“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
So many Believers’ are united in suffering. They are there to hold hands. Just reach out and share His splendor. You will flourish, even if the ax of hurt strikes you hard.
Sandalwood has the most magnificent fragrance however, you must strike the trunk with a sharp object before any scent is released and permeates the forest.
How this reminds me of my own life and the tough times I have been through and perpetuate. Without suffering, I would not reflect our sweet smelling Saviour. Without experiencing the hurt, His artisanship would remain enclosed.
As God’s children, we are to light this world.
Rise from behind the bough of brokenness; otherwise your fragrance is concealed. Society needs the savor of a testimony that ignites hope and offers life evermore.
You were designed to shine in the little day-to-day moments that make a BIG impact on others. Your own world needs the hope of a tried hand trusting Jesus all the way.
Everything has a season. Your trial will end.
We have so much to give when we are broken but we must look to God, appreciate our Maker and the essence of who we are through Christ.
So many of us are knit at the heart; not professing to understand your unique pain, but rather reaching out in love and in essence, a comrade.
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 1 Peter 1:7
You are not alone with Jesus. You never are.
From the Heart of Deborah Choma

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