From Suffering to Glory

Even though I have so many wonderful memories during the holiday season, this time of year also holds some painful memories of experiencing the bitterness of death and loss. Sadly, I know this is the case for so many people. For me, November is the month that my dad was murdered (actually it will be 11 years on the 17th) and the month my husband and I lost our first baby early on in my pregnancy. Those were times where I had to endure some pretty heavy emotional suffering. Even though I was a Christian during those times, the pain was still very real and I struggled in my faith. I had to constantly press into God’s truth and surround myself with other believers who loved me and encouraged me during those dark times.

Pain and suffering are not something any of us look forward to, but while we live here in this fallen and broken world, it is inevitable. It is so easy to get caught up in the storms of our life and lose sight of the hope that is available to us through Jesus Christ. He is the anchor in that storm and promises to never abandon us. 

The suffering may not disappear, but the good news is that Jesus is right there with us to walk through it together. In the midst of the pain, the temptation is to give all of our focus on the battle we may be facing. I believe it is so important for us to keep a heavenly and eternal perspective when we are in the midst of a painful situation or even a painful season. We have to remember that our life here on earth is not all that there is to our existence.

There is a life to come where we are promised no more pain or suffering when we see Jesus face to face and when He returns in all of His glory. This is the glory that Paul tells us about in Romans 8:18:

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Romans 8:18, NASB

We will experience God’s glory in all of its fullness one day and what a glorious day that will be! Let us hold fast to that hope of eternal life that awaits us, free of all pain and suffering!

So take heart! We must press into God’s promises of what lies ahead.

Jesus is the anchor of our souls; He helps us not waver and is secure and strong.

We must remember that this place is not our home…we are just passing through!

The suffering you are experiencing cannot stand against God’s glory. Let us keep our minds fixed on heaven and fixed on Jesus Christ our Savior, in the midst of our storm.

Sadness and grief will come, sometimes like a tidal wave, but you have an anchor of glorious hope and His name is Jesus!

If you are currently experiencing a trial that seems too much to bear, take that pain to the throne of God. He hears every cry; the Holy Spirit is our great Comforter. Also, fight the temptation to isolate yourself and try to find a friend whom you can share your heart with and confide in. God never intended for us to walk through the valley alone. He is always with you, and He will send someone to be a listening ear and shoulder to cry on if you ask Him. 

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What a Friend We Have in Jesus

One morning as I was walking our dog, Samson, tears suddenly started flowing, and I just began to talk to God. It did not take very long for me to realize that what I was wrestling with was the all-too-familiar feeling of rejection. 

I did all I knew to do.

I attempted to break the silence that so easily crept into the friendship, and there’s still silence on the other end.

I can’t make anyone want to have me in their life, and not everyone needs to be in mine, I get that. But I’m still fighting off the feelings that the spirit of rejection so gladly ushers into my heart.

It’s in these moments that I cling to those who embrace me, who accept me, and remind myself that I am loved.

First and foremost: Jesus loves me.

My husband loves me.

My children love me.

My family loves me.

And there are friends that surround me that fight for our relationship.

In moments like this, it is so important to run to the Word of God to replace lies with God’s truth. 

Proverbs 18:24 gives us instruction about friendship:

“A man who has friends [a]must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 18:24, NKJV

Although Proverbs 18:24 doesn’t necessarily say that friend is Jesus, I know that ultimately, He will always be there for me even when everyone else fails me.

Because people will fail us. People will reject us. Even our Christian brothers and sisters- this of which I struggle with understanding the most.

Many people rejected Jesus (and continue to do so), but while He was here on earth, even one of His very own disciples (Judas) rejected Him. And just a couple hours later, another one of His closest disciples (Peter) rejected knowing Him. THREE TIMES.

When we face rejection, we must remember that Jesus had to/has to endure rejection every single day as people turn their back on Him. No matter what, Jesus understands more than anyone what we experience when rejection comes our way. Thank God for Jesus’ forgiveness when we turn our backs on Him; He gives us so many opportunities to repent and make things right in our relationship with Him! Jesus understands and His arms are open wide, ready for us to cry out to Him about our pain of rejection.

If you are dealing with rejection, I want to encourage you that you don’t have to embrace the lies that you are unwanted or unloved. There is a Man who wants to be the closest friend you have ever had in your entire life. Everything could be stripped away from you or everyone in your life may walk away from you, but the Lord’s love for you will always be there.

In Christ, you are made worthy before God and are accepted into His beloved family. The cross is a symbol of God’s great love for you. Jesus died and paid the price for our sin so that we would forever experience a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Without a relationship with Jesus, you’re a sinner in God’s Holy eyes, but embracing Jesus, ushers in the greatest relationship you will ever know from now on into eternity. He wants to walk with you. He won’t reject you and will stick close forever and always. Oh, what a friend we have in Jesus! 

In you are wrestling with the pain of rejection, pray this prayer:

Abba Father,

I’m hurting. I don’t want to hold onto this pain.

I want to heal. I choose to forgive.

I want You to bless those who hurt me, even if they don’t want me in their life anymore.

Your Son was rejected, even by You, for a moment, out of love for me. Thank You, Jesus, for being the friend I need who sticks by me no matter what.

I love You. Thank You for always loving me.

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