I sat down to write a post about joy and as I have gathered my thoughts I have decided instead to focus today on the beauty of suffering. Weird? Maybe. Maybe not.
A few weeks ago I had written that things here in the Bolte household have kind of settled a bit. We have been in a period of rest and things have been going pretty well. I was finding that I had not much to say and nothing really to blog about, so I went back through my posts from when I was pregnant with Asher, looking for some of the lessons the Lord taught me during that season.
I had reposted a few entries I had written during my pregnancy with Asher and even still got several emails from people who were concerned for me. They suggested counseling and medication.
Now, I am not here to say for one minute that there is not value in counseling nor am I here to say that medication is not warranted in some situations. My mom committed suicide, remember? I am quite certain she was in need of help and that she never found it.
As I sat last night reflecting on all of this I felt quite a stirring in my heart. This might sound crazy to most of you, but I miss the suffering. When I was pregnant with Asher, my sweet fourth child, who was diagnosed mid pregnancy with fatal birth defects, I was terrified. I was broken and scared. Each day I struggled to get out of bed and CHOOSE joy, CHOOSE life. Yet I did. While I suffered, I was also filled with a peace I have never quite felt before. As I carried that baby boy, the Lord's presence was so tangible to me. In the days after his death, as I wept and cried out to the Lord, I also knew that God was near to my broken heart.
James 5: 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord -- that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
It was a sacred time. I was so scared and so helpless that each day, (who am I kidding?), each moment, I had to look to the Lord to pull me through. The Bible tells us that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and I found that to be very true.
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you
Isn't it funny how when we are faced with a trial, we wonder what on earth is going on? I mean, the Bible tells us NOT to think of suffering as something strange. God's glory rests upon those who suffer. Our trials and tribulations give us depth. We often though look at our lives and we thank God for our prosperity but seldom for our suffering.
In fact, in our culture I would go so far as to say that we are extremely uncomfortable with suffering. We want to make it better. We want to rush through the suffering so that we can enjoy the good life. We see someone in agony and we are quick to want to medicate. Like I said, I am not saying that there is no place for medicine, but I have said it once, and I will say it again, medication doesn't change my reality. Even if I am on Prozac two of my children will still be dead. Period. This is the life the Lord has chosen for me. I am learning to rejoice in that. Without Asher I would NEVER have felt the presence of God in that way. I would never have known love on the level I do. Without Isaac I would never have been able to prepare for Asher and the experience the Lord had for me with the birth of each of my subsequent children.
By choosing Christ, we are not chosing a life void of pain. When you accept the Lord, life doesn't suddenly become all puppy dogs and rainbows. Jesus died on a cross. He suffered in a way that we cannot even begin to imagine. In fact, I would say that when you make the choice to follow Christ, you are choosing suffering. The Bible PROMISES us persecution and suffering, but also promises that it will be used for His glory. No suffering goes unnoticed.
I am working on an upcoming post on JOY. I have been seeking joy for so long, and have come to learn that it is a choice. We choose joy, and when we can choose joy and even rejoice in our sufferings, blessings abound.
When we think of blessings, we often think of a pretty package, all tied up with a bow, and I am here to tell you, that sometimes, blessings DO come like that, but more often they come as suffering, we all SAY we want to follow Jesus and walk like He did, yet our actions don't match. I am just as guilty of it as the next guy. I am on a quest though...this stirring in my heart has me on a quest for something more. I want my walk to match His. I don't want to just accept Christ in my heart, I want my life to reflect His.
Don't get me wrong, I would do just about anything to hold my sweet boys once more, but I am so grateful they will never know the pain of this world. They knew only love. For that I am grateful. My time with them was so sacred. So blessed, and so peaceful. I experienced God on a level I never knew existed. I miss that.