There is a perspective in our faith that I subscribe to and it is that our suffering is an integral part of God’s plan to ready us for the struggle of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.
Suffering in some ways is a prerequisite for strengthening one’s spiritual muscle. We all know how hard it is to respect the opinion of someone who has led the so-called “charmed life” or was born with the proverbial silver spoon in a cavity-free mouth. It’s hard, if not impossible, to listen to someone talk with certainty about things they’ve never seen or places they’ve never been.
My belief is that God teaches in a manner few of us will ever truly understand. I honestly believe that when He chooses you, when it’s your time, He has a unique way of communicating who’s really in charge. And, if the truth be told, it ain’t us. That’s right! When God is talking to you, you eventually come to know it.
Take notes on this. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but [rather] painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11) As far as I’m concerned, we’re all in training, believe it or not, to fight in God’s war. Whether being forged in a fiery furnace or stuck in a tailspin of perceived despair and hopelessness, each one of us is being battle-tested in anticipation that one day we will be called to arms.
This struggle, these experiences, they bring about wisdom, a spiritual wisdom from a spiritual perspective that I believe must be shared. It must be. Otherwise, God keeps you in a perpetual classroom where life constantly gives you a new place to go to the bathroom. You haven’t learned anything, so life keeps kicking your … well, you get the picture.
When you finally realize the one trying to tell you something is God, then a wondrous thing begins to happen. You listen more intently and learn more eagerly. Like the child who discovers walking leads to the joy of running, or the baby who discovers his own hand, the possibilities seem endless. The mind says ‘tell me more.’ The spirit says ‘thank you Jesus.’
At that very moment, it my belief that God let’s us know we’re able to withstand, overcome, rise above and win the battle of carrying the message of salvation. Christ is savior. At that moment, we also move from being in the classroom to being on the battlefield where Satan keeps score.
You remember those days back in school when you actually studied and were prepared for the test? Confidence oozed from you. When God has been the lesson planner, the study partner, the instructor, it doesn’t matter how much Satan wants it to be a Net Flix Night. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)
Our job then is to recognize and represent — recognize the hell we’re going through is not without purpose. The most important message of the day is to understand who (Jesus) has suffered the most and why. “It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
May God bless and keep you always.
James A. Washington is the publisher at Dallas Weekly. He can be reached at dallasweekly.com.