Following on from my sporadic social media post last Sunday night, I was not planning to write a blog post, but I felt it warranted it after its response.
So here’s a further fairly sporadic post about suffering to go with the miracle story I shared last Sunday night.
Far be it from me to suggest that everyone gets healed when we pray – even earnestly pray and fast.
I for one know all about that one.
My heart goes out to those of you reading for whom praying and seeing miracles has not been the case. That is not how it should be. We are never meant to settle our theology down to cope with the weak religion of our land. The true Gospel is not just a gospel of words (or even). It’s a gospel of power. Healing is the children’s bread.
However, in addition to all the supernatural things Jesus truly taught about and expected to be our ‘norm’ in following him, I want to be very explicitly clear that suffering is also a huge part of true Christianity, along with, yes, the awkwardness of miracles. (For believe me, there was a fresh awkwardness in sharing what I shared last week.)
“But Father what about those who havn’t been healed? What about those folks who’ve prayed and not seen healing or miracles?” I asked, before posting.
The quiet reaponse I sensed in return was, “share your story anyway.”
Make what you want of this, but that is my story. A shared a story of miraculous personal intervention of a loving Heavenly Daddy.
It’s easy to shy away from such awkwardness therefore, of standing out from the crowd, certainly in Northern Ireland’s culture. Even, if not even more so, the Christian culture.
The fact is, we are called to believe for the miraculous, however, alongside embracing suffering – whatever the cross we have been called to carry – for all of us who have committed to following Jesus. Suffering is very much part of the package of our Christian faith.
Believe me, I often wish it were not so, and this is one I am wrestling with plenty this past year or two.
The Apostle Paul makes it clear, however, that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character, hope (see Romans 5).
This verse alone gives purpose to some of the pain, but it doesn’t remove the awkwardness – again.
Just think of poor old Job and the mystery of his suffering spoken of in the Bible.
I can definitely relate. This past decade has been a decade of often immense suffering in my own life (alongside many also very blessed, amazing times, might I add). Suffering in various different multi-faceted ways. My stories of suffering are way beyond the scope of this blog post, but as I’ve written openly before, I have only ever shared a small tiny percent online. It has been tough and undesired. But embrace it? Yes, i have had to. Maybe I will share some more on this another time. I’m sharing this for the benefit of the many out their who often get hammered with the lie that you are the ‘only one’ going through hard stuff. You’re not. No one knew suffering better than Jesus.
Many prayers of my own remain unanswered. Many painful events and circumstances have ensued (and maybe I will share some more sometime in a book. A blog post is probably far too short to cope with all i could truely write about the past decade alone!). But through it all, Father God has been faithful. Time and time again, He has been faithful and good, especially when others have not. Friends I thought may be for life have ignored, misunderstood or others even stabbed me in the back and walked away (believe me, some of that kind of suffering is the deepest pain imaginable), yet through it all I have known the fresh personal revelation of, ‘sharing in the sufferings of Christ’. As well as the power of his resurrection, written of in the story i shared last week on Fcbk.
Sometimes life is mysterious. Sometime life can be very hard.
Sometimes life is amazing and glorious, but equally sometimes life sucks. If the latter is where you are at, stick with it. Eventually every dark night becomes a gradual dawn.
To be continued…