Updated: Aug 9, 2022
With all of the trials on the horizon of 2022, I want to share something that the Lord put on my heart as an encouragement.
I've been in a ton of pain the last couple of weeks, and specifically, the last couple of days. It has been a battle between my flesh wanting to act like an entitled pill and the Spirit convicting my heart to tame the despairing attitude and embittered behavior that festers under physical, emotional and mental duress -- with the Sword of the Spirit, The Word of God. I relented to an ongoing prompting to call my seventy year old friend. We chatted for over an hour about the life of Christian discipleship and how we learn obedience by suffering -- the only curriculum for holiness that we see in scripture. After we hung up, I began to sing along to a worship song. When I began to sing the harmony, these words came like a flood with a sudden breaker of joy:
God sings over his beloved a song of victory as he leads us not just to the cross, but through it. Suffering is the harmony. Faithful suffering is the harmony of the Lamb who was slain. Let us be joyfully gritty if we are counted to sing this accompaniment. It is the valley that produces the echo of salvation. May we be counted worthy to harmonize with the suffering servant, Jesus Christ, the King of Kings. This is the attitude of the heart offered freely to us by God's grace through his Spirit that will help us endure till the end for the sake of Christ. With joy. "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin." Hebrews 4:15 "For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ." 2 Corinthians 1:5 "The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." Zephaniah 3:17
And finally, this verse, which will be increasingly relevant as an anchor for our hearts and minds in 2022 and onward.
1 Peter 1 - The Hope of Eternal Life
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
How wonderful -- to be invited to walk the narrow path with Jesus Christ. Let his love be your stabilizing force and sing the harmony of the cross that he bore to offer you life! He is worthy!