Photo Credit: GodTube
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. – 1 Peter 5:10
Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me…For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10b
Some of my sweetest times with the Lord are driving in a dark car with the radio on. Last night I was on my way to a friend’s house and a string of songs came on all meant just for me…we’ve all had this experience, right? They were:
- Newsboys’ Abandon
- Jordan Feliz’s Witness
- Francesca Battistelli’s Beautiful, Beautiful
- Mandisa’s Stronger
Every one of those songs highlights God’s work of grace in our lives. Mandisa‘s song especially spoke to the transforming nature of suffering. How God takes suffering and brokenness in our lives and perfects us through it. Perfects us in such a way that not only are we made stronger but our ability to comfort others is strengthened.
One of God’s gifts to this distractible daughter of His is how He speaks to my heart in waves to drive His message deep into my heart.
Last night, in a circle of women drinking tea and catching up with each other, the Lord spoke Mandisa’s message again through my friend. She told us a story about how her little daughter had a favorite doll that she always had with her. The mama even kept a second similar doll nearby for when the favorite occasionally went missing. That doll was a poor substitute. Her daughter’s favorite was her constant companion and because of that, this doll was dirty, worn, and well-loved. She had in some measure endured whatever that little girl endured.Photo Credit: Pixabay
…and was made perfect (in this little girl’s eyes) because of their shared experience
Even God’s sinless Son was somehow made perfect through suffering.
For in bringing many sons to glory, it was entirely appropriate that God–all things exist for Him and through Him–should make the source of their salvation perfect through sufferings. – Hebrews 2:10
Though He was God’s Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered. – Hebrews 5:8
When we suffer and bear up under it, with God’s help, we come out the other side stronger. What that does for us…and for those watching us…is give us a confidence and assurance that we will get through it. Just as we have seen Jesus suffer for our sake…and gloriously endure.
It’s not surprising that the song Stronger comes from Mandisa’s album What If We Were Real. It set me to remembering the childhood story of The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. In the story, the Rabbit confronts the reality of what makes things “real”. In short, he discovered that love makes us real…and with that love comes suffering…but the love makes that suffering not matter.Photo Credit: Reddit
Suffering is a part of all our lives. I can understand, especially if your experience of suffering is very raw and current, that this talk of dolls and rabbits will feel frivolous.
What Jesus endured for us, however, is not a trifle. It is, in fact, the most real thing in my life…and hopefully yours, as well. That and His ongoing work in our lives transforming us to become more and more like Him.
Sometimes…that is through suffering.
Worship with me, if you will, through this song brought to us by our dear sister, Mandisa.
Hey, heard you were up all night
Thinking about how your world ain’t right
And you wonder if things will ever get better
And you’re asking why is it always raining on you
When all you want is just a little good news
Instead of standing there stuck out in the weather
Oh, don’t hang your head
It’s gonna end
God’s right there
Even if it’s hard to see Him
I promise you that He still cares
When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain’t gonna last forever
And things can only get better
Believe me, this is gonna make you stronger
Gonna make you stronger, stronger, stronger
Believe me, this is gonna make you …
Try and do the best you can
Hold on and let Him hold your hand
And go on and fall into the arms of Jesus
Oh, lift your head it’s gonna end
God’s right there
Even when you just can’t feel Him
I promise you that He still cares
‘Cause if He started this work in your life
He will be faithful to complete it
If only you believe it
He knows how much it hurts
And I’m sure that He’s gonna help you get through this
“And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore you, secure you, strengthen you, and establish you.” – 1 Peter 5:10
What do you make of this? Please comment below if you have a story of suffering you are willing to share. How did God reveal Himself to you…through you?