Wednesday, November 19, 2014

“Altars In Pain"

   The Old Testament declares that God is "full of compassion" (Psalm 86:15).  The Lord also possesses infinite understanding (Psalm 147:5).  Thus, He perfectly knows the challenges faced by human beings, and cares about them more than do we ourselves.

    It remains true, however, that the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, brought experience into the Divine awareness of our pains and sorrows.  "We have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15).  God's knowledge of challenge now unites with mental, emotional, and physical participation in human difficulty.  Thus, the full compassion of the Old Testament is transcended by an even greater involvement in the New.  Through experience, the Lord Jesus knows beyond knowledge our infirmities, and thus cares about us with more loving concern than we could ever measure or fathom.

    The Spirit of Christ also dwells in those who believe for the purpose of filling us with His compassion.  "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body" (II Corinthians 4:10).  Our pains enable us to identify with others for the purpose of revealing Christ's life to our sphere of influence.  As we trust and submit ourselves to God in difficulty, His love births awareness and compassion in us for others who hurt, thus preparing us for ministries we could never fulfill apart from pain.  This includes prayerful ntercessions that would not be offered, self sacrificial actions that remain undone, testimonies of God's comfort we could not profess, and caring for others that only originates in our discovery of God's compassion for us when we hurt.

    Our Lord knows, He cares, and He can do something about our hurting hearts and bodies.  At or near the top of the list, He can transform our perception of suffering into a different reality altogether as we realize that the risen life of Christ can flow to others through the portals of our wounds.  Somewhere, somebody else hurts as we do.  Our pain offers an altar whereupon we devote ourselves to God and others for the glory of the Lord Jesus, and the ministry of His caring compassion, comfort, and enabling.  How easily we sink into our difficulties, to no benefit whatsoever.  But how mightily the Spirit of God can bring us forth, as He did the Lord Jesus, from tombs that actually serve to reveal His life to others.  This was His way so long ago, and the very foundation of our faith.  It is now our way in the present day, and the very fount of living Water revealed in and through us for the glory of God and the benefit of those with whom we live our lives…

"For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.  So then death worketh in us, but life in you."
(II Corinthians 4:11-12)

Weekly Memory Verse
    My flesh and my heart faith, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.
(Psalm 73:26)

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