And He said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Thursday, August 12, 2010

From Connor's Mommy

As I get older, I have become more and more aware of the fact that SUFFERING is such a major part of the world, of this fallen world.  I know that may seem to be a funny statement, but I think that as a child we are always of the mind set that everything is rosy and life is full of fairy-tale endings.  But now, I see that life is also filled with life stories that don't match up with these fairy tales that I so often imagined as a child.  It doesn't match up when a one year old, Walker Rainey, passed away from cancer yesterday.  Or when my friend's husband left her and her children last year.  So many of my friends have lost their jobs, too, and are struggling to support their family.  The list goes on.  At one time, these everyday trials surprised me, as if they were not a normal part of life.  Now, I'm no longer surprised.  Just as Peter said...
"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed."
I Peter 4:12-13
So, now I'm trying to understand what good can come from suffering.  
How can God's glory be revealed?  Dr. David McKinley, our friend who is a pastor in Augusta, Georgia, has this perspective on suffering.
"Suffering forces us to turn from shallow distractions and smaller irritations to consider the ultimate issues in life.  It helps us get our eyes on something that really matters.  Too much of our time is spent worrying about things that don't' matter.
Suffering is the great purifier of the pettiness that often consumes us in life.  One of the reasons some of us never develop into PEOPLE OF GREAT CHARACTER is because we constantly give our attention to the petty things of life.  Commentator George Will says 'pettiness is the tendency of people without large purposes.'  If you live with a larger sense of purpose, than you're not going to let your life be burned up by all the little things that really don't matter.  This is the spiritual gift of pettiness and pouting.  If we ever lose sight of what we are about for eternity - in preaching the gospel, in seeing people redeemed, and helping people who suffer to have a hope and a heaven that is yet to come - then we miss everything that really matters in life and we focus on all the wrong things.
That's why Peter says here, "you are tested in the genuineness of your faith, so that it is more precious than gold."
Your life needs to count for more than just the petty trivialities that so often consume us.  So suffering in life matters."
I saw this very principle worked out in our lives.  When Connor was first diagnosed, our lives were immediately simplified.  No longer did we worry about the small things.  It was like our mind/energy and focus were all wiped clean and we only had what was important set before us.  So, I agree with Pastor McKinley that suffering is the great purifier.  I pray that we can all wipe away all those petty trivialities and focus on what really matters in life - what we are doing for God's Kingdom.
Please pray for two families who have lost their children to cancer recently - Walker Rainey's family and Carlin Ascher's family.  Thank you.
Always believing,
Joy Cruse

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