And a sword will pierce through your own soul also—that the secret thoughts and purposes of many hearts may be brought out and disclosed.
Luke 2:35 AMP
This painful verse is part of the Christmas story, and I constantly forget that. Here is Simeon on the greatest day of his life, holding the Messiah-Baby he’s waited to see all these years, delivering hard truth to a young mother. She’s going to know the exquisite pain of being stabbed in the heart, but not for nothing. She will suffer so that those in the dark can be brought to the Light. I wonder how much of our suffering serves the same purpose?
Christ in My Suffering
I’m in week two of some heinous cold/flu hybrid of doom. I’m functional, but not at all optimal. I decided to go to the doctor when I woke up particularly debilitated last week, and thus began a beautiful and terrible day.
When I reached the clinic, the waiting room was full and a woman I know slightly was there with her husband. I hadn’t seen her in over a year, so I asked her how she was. For the next two hours, she answered my question.
My head was killing me, my nose wouldn’t stop running, when I coughed my chest felt like it had been cleaved in two, my whole body ached, and all I wanted to do was to lie in a soft bed with a morphine drip. Instead, Jesus put me in a hard plastic chair for almost two hours because He wanted to listen to this woman and cry a little with her.
My physical suffering was nothing compared to this woman’s heart suffering. Her daughter died of a massive brain aneurysm right in front of her and her grandsons. There was enormous drama with the children’s fathers – abuse, alcoholism, assault, you name it – and trying to gain custody of her daughter’s children to keep them safe. This lady didn’t ask me to fix her life. She just asked for me to hear her heart.
For all I know, this lingering, systemic funk of epic proportions is for the sake of those two hours. This is a very mild example of suffering, of course, but I think you get the picture. I am God’s to spend as He sees fit. And when I surrender to the momentary squashing, I am rewarded amply.
Meeting Christ in Suffering
The day I’ve just described was physically terrible and spiritually transcendent. I felt steeped in His Love, all day long! It was astonishing and beautiful. Jesus loved this woman enormously and I believe that He accomplished what He wanted to through me. It was a privilege to bear witness to His heart in this.
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Some of you may be in store for some suffering over the holidays—some of you may already be in it. I don’t know what plans the Lord has for you this Christmas, but I bless your seeking Christ in it. May you find yourself carried through from morning to night, even minute to minute. And if the day is terrible, may the indwelling Life in you transcend that terrible suffering to find His hidden beauty and His great heart.
Merry Christmas to you all!
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:14 KJV
NOTE: We will be stepping away from the blog for the next week, but we’ll be back in 2016. We’re so grateful for all the love and encouragement you’ve given to us this year and we bless you in Jesus’ Name!