Sharing in His Sufferings 7
Sharing in His Sufferings 7
"The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—a wife who married young, only to be rejected," says your God. "For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. "In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you," says the LORD your Redeemer. (Isaiah 54:6-8—NIV)
If you have not already experienced such apparent rejection, let me assure you that you shall if you keep following the Lord. It is His way.
When we first receive Christ we are as children. The Lord treats us as children.
But then there comes a time when God sees that we are going to seek Him consistently.
Now, we must understand there are many areas of our personality that are not at all in keeping with God's personality. He is angry with these. He brings us into much suffering so that our worldliness, lust, and self-will may be driven from us. This is how He reconciles Himself to us and us to Himself.
It is of the greatest importance that we hold steady during such seasons of seeming abandonment. We need to keep assuring ourselves of God's faithfulness, because His dealings with us may continue for several years, depending on our calling in the Kingdom.
When our suffering has accomplished its purpose, God returns to us and comforts us. We come up out of the wilderness leaning on our beloved, so to speak. It has been a Valley of Achor, a place of judgment. But this is the only route to marriage to the Lord.
It is a Job experience. We cannot expect others to understand us, and their advice may be as a tinkling cymbal. But we are to hold fast in faith, because the Holy One of Israel is utterly faithful.
It may seem that we have committed some grievous sin and God has forsaken us. But God never forsakes those who are steadfastly trusting Him to save them. He may chastise them severely, but He never, never, never shall forsake those who are trusting Him to save them.
After we have suffered sufficiently we shall be brought forth into peace and a larger place.
Think of how Christ suffered in Gethsemane and on the cross. "My God, why have You forsaken Me?" We will be given our own Gethsemane, our own cross, if we are called to govern with Him. But hold steady. Such suffering does come to an end. Stay in your prison and you will receive the crown of life. All of God's saints have the same experience of seeming abandonment and then renewal into a larger place.
You indeed shall see the travail of your soul and be satisfied. God has never failed anyone yet and He will not fail you!
"To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:9,10—NIV)
How do you like this promise: "I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again"? Isn't that something?
To be continued. Sharing in His Sufferings 8