Tuesday, March 8, 2011
The Resting and the Suffering
Here are some random thoughts since our return from the “Smith Family Celebrates Life” vacation.
- How I wish I could travel on the deep blue sea in February every winter.
- Best thing about the “Allure of the Seas”: You feel like you’re outside everywhere you go!
- Net weight gain Loriann: censored. Net weight gain Stephen: zero! Despite eating 3 times his normal amount. But he exercises like a mad man!
- Second best thing about the “Allure of the Seas”: you never have to drive a car anywhere!
- I’ll never forget this beautifully relaxing trip, but more than that, I’ll never forget the 14 months leading up to it. (For more on that, see www.steveandhannahsmith.blogspot.com).
Now we step in to the 40 days leading up to the celebration of the resurrection of the One and Only Son of the Living God. I’m striving to seek Him with all my heart during this meaningful season, and to receive all kinds of grace from Him when I fall short. Like all of you, we are experiencing problems and sufferings. But let’s look at our troubles the way scripture does: as opportunities to go through the purging fires to greater faith. Trials are not our enemies. The Book of James says:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Jesus endured the cross for “the joy set before Him”. Friends, it seems there will always be obstacles on the pilgrim road. I get weary, and I know you do to. We can cling tight to the Great One through it all, and find in the end, sometimes the very end, that everything will work out alright. None of us has had to face martyrdom. None of us has gone hungry. We’ve got it so much easier than many of the great saints, living and dead. (Just watched Carl Dreyer’s Joan of Arc last night…WOW!) That doesn’t mean our trials don’t hurt, or don’t count. But it helps me anyway to remember how “light and momentary” they really are in the whole cosmic scheme of things. I’m like everyone else: I wish my life were easy, with no heartaches. That’s simply an unrealistic fantasy. So best we get on with the business of making our trials work for the Glory of God. And for joy set before us here, and if not here, in the ages to come…
Your friend on the pilgrim road,
PS: A shout out to Danny B., our guest blogger. That guy always makes me think…and smile!