Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Someone, Somewhere Else"

Our wounds are meant to be the open portals through which the comfort of Christ flows unto others.

"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God... Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh... so then death worketh in us, but life in you... all things are for your sakes" (II Corinthians 1:3-4; 4:10; 12; 15).

Careful consideration of these passages reveals that our Savior's way of personal suffering leading to the blessing of others is now our way. The Apostle Paul actually considered this as a gift to us - "unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake" (Philippians 1:29). We are honored to walk the same path as the Lord Jesus (although it doesn't feel like an honor). We "suffer for His sake," and "all things are for your sakes." This spiritual understanding must be often considered if the ministry for God's glory and blessing to others made possible by our pains is to flourish.

The great challenge in this involves the fact that difficulty strongly tempts us to focus on ourselves. We all have different ways of responding, but our fleshly reaction to trial tends to raise in our minds the question, "Why is this happening to me?" Conversely, the Holy Spirit moves within us to foster different inquiries. "How can the Lord Jesus be honored in this?" "Who can be blessed as my difficulty opens a window in me through which He can be known by someone else?" This clearly taught Biblical truth is too rarely considered among born again believers, and our spiritual enemies fight hard to cloud and enshroud the power of our sufferings leading to balm for others.

Wherever we are challenged and hurting in this moment, someone, somewhere else is facing the same difficulty. Paul declared that our troubles are all "common to man" (I Corinthians 10:13). We may or may not know who they are, but we can pray to our Heavenly Father who does perfectly know the person and their circumstance. Our suffering can be a signal whereby we ask God to glorify the Lord Jesus in a fellow "companion in tribulation," ministering His comfort, strength, and redemption in accordance with the Divine will (Revelation 1:9). Heaven only knows how our Father responds to such determination to walk in the love of Christ, as enabled by the Spirit of Christ. Indeed, in Heaven some saint may greet us on a street of gold so pure and fine as to be transparent. "Brother, do you remember that day back on earth when as the tears fell from your face, your prayers ascended to the Throne for "someone, somewhere else" to know God's keeping and comfort? My brother, I was that someone to whom the Lord Jesus was ministered and while all the glory is His, I still want to thank you with all my heart." Doubtless we will together fall to our faces on that transparently golden path where the glory of Christ's love emanates and radiates forevermore to reveal His nail-scarred heart that is now our nail-scarred heart.

"The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us."
(Romans 5:5)
"And the Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends."
(Job 42:10)

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