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Friday, February 19, 2010

The Overcoming of Suffering

The Question of the Week for Bullets and Butterflies last Saturday was "Why Suffering?" The answer is expanded on this week's posts here.

"Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive."
~ Josephine Hart

The Overcoming of Suffering

"Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament ... and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy... These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
~ John 16:20,33 (NKJV)

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty...
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
~ Psalms 91:1,4-6 (NKJV)

The "overcoming of suffering" does not mean that we overcome suffering, but that suffering is the impetus by which we overcome all else.

Survival is motivated by visible threat. In times of horrendous crisis we are compelled to overcome. When faced with an attacking enemy we do not hesitate to fight.

It is amid the drudgery of tasks just as necessary to survival, in the oppressive mundane of the every day—where we are stared down not by visible foe but by the unrelenting erosion of trivial vexations—that we are more likely to succumb to defeat.

Suffering rescues us from this more dangerous threat. It compels us to rise to our potential and makes us strong so that we do not merely withstand, but we overcome life’s challenges.

The cuts which suffering inflicts upon us can be deep and painful. We understand when we receive them that they will leave scars. Those marks will prove to be the work of a Master carving a masterpiece if we accept them rather than resist His hand or flee His presence.

The soul which stays close to the Most High God remains in the shadow of His wings. This person may not understand the cuts of suffering, but feels the assurance of the Lord’s companionship as He shares our suffering. This soul does not forsake hope.

The soul which is far enough away from the Almighty to escape His shadow will languish in suffering. This person will know doubt and despair, and will allow hope to slip away.

We are easily distracted sheep and prone to wander. But in the moment we discover that our attention has left the Shepherd, memory should serve well to draw us immediately back to the safety of abiding with Him.

Almighty God, You are only good, all the time. You do not willingly afflict the children of men. Though You cause grief, You are full of compassion. Please draw us close to You. Please assure our insecure hearts of Your constant love.

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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  1. In repentance and rest is your salvation. In quiteness and trust is your strength! - Isaiah 30:15a & b. Although the whole verse comes from a negative prophecy against an obstinate nation or people, I found comfort in God's awesome truths! May those in suffering find salvation (deliverance) and strength in God! Welcome back, Anne!

  2. Anna...i've struggled throughout this entire week with this series and with other things issues in my life too. as soon as i began reading this, i understood! the enemy was really coming against me during this time too. once again our Lord has used you to rescue me!!!

    i think you are going to enjoy reading my next post. might have to wait a few days:) it's going to be like music to your ears. then again....i believe that you are like music to our Father's ears. very pleasing!

    again!!! i thank Him and you!!!


  3. I'll be thinking about the imagery of being covered with feathers all day.

    Have a wonderful weekend.
    ~ Wendy

  4. Suffering is hard to do, but this verse can help:

    1 Peter 5:10 In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.

  5. A former SS teacher of mine use to say situations can either make you bitter or better. So I believe it is with suffering. I have found when submitted to God He can teach you much and bring change within the heart.

  6. Oh, ouch! And oh, so true! My busy days bring me exhaustion sometimes, and then I don't see that I've fallen into the trap of grumbling and self-focus. *sigh*

    How insightful of you to recognize that it's not the big sufferings but the grind of everday life which so often causes us to stumble. Anne, thank you for this timely reminder. God bless you this weekend.

  7. Nice post Anne as always. I wonder what and if there is any fruit to long suffering? Bless you.

  8. Bible Lover ~ I don't think there is any verse in the Bible which is not for our blessing. This is a most fitting passage to complement this post. Thanks. And it's good to see you. :D

    Bud ~ Oh how I do pray that I am music to the Father's ears, as your praise is to mine.

    Wendy ~ I usually think of His wings being like a mother hen drawing her chicks in close. I'm ROTFL as the image I get is one of someone having feathers stuck all over them when you put it that way.

    Rick ~ I like the reminder of suffering "for a little while." The Father knows our frail human limits and does not give us more than He also gives strength to bear. BTW, I very much like your blog.

    Patty ~ I suppose that God wants suffering to make us better, and the enemy fights Him to make us bitter. All the more reason to be sure we're submitted to Him as you say.

    Gwen ~ I think I'm less insightful than simply a victim of this. I can be intrepid with the scary stuff. It's the monotony that'll get me. May you also be blessed, you and your precious family. I pray you find strength in rest.

    T ~ If you don't see the fruit, ask the Lord to show you so you'll be encouraged. He does use suffering for good for those who love Him, so I've no doubt there's been fruit for someone like you.

  9. I can endure the suffering, because my Father never leaves my side.

  10. ... and because, Denise, He bears the brunt of the suffering for us. How blessed we are to be His! I praise Him with all I am. Bless you, dear!


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