“Look, I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing
at the right hand of God.”
Acts 7:56 (NIV)
A dear friend from my past lunched with me yesterday. We had a great time rehearsing our times together in the past and catching up on the news of our children and their children.
During the conversation my friend asked about my health issues. He wondered how I was doing in my fight with cancer and unstable diabetes. He asked me about how the precarious nature of my situation affected me. I did not wish to appear glib about my health issues and what my future might hold in light of them. However, I did wish to make clear that my prospects of heaven and seeing the Lord are very real to me and rather amazing to consider.
Today I chatted with a new friend and he was asking about my heath issues. His tender heart was evident as we spoke. I did not speak with him long enough to learn exactly where he placed experience of suffering in the Christian’s life but I hope to chat with him again and speak about what the benefits of suffering are for God’s children.
In Psalm 119:67 it says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word” (NIV) In my life the things I have suffered have certainly brought me closer to the Lord. I would have never invited sorrow into my life, however I affirm that I would not trade my place of suffering for all the riches and fame life could offer.
Again, in Psalm 119:71 we read, “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” (NIV) People often ask me how I come up with all the daily devotionals and the answer must be that I have learned God’s Word, the Bible, through suffering much better than in the good times.
The amazing people I meet with each day to share in God’s Word have taught me so much about suffering and how to handle it. Sadly, many Christians think of God as some celestial lackey who exists only for their comfort. Suffering is not something of benefit to them. But the wise A.W. Tozer once remarked, “God will not use a man greatly until He has broken him deeply.”
It does not take much thought or wisdom to see that the people most useful in this life have been just those who have suffered most. When I have a painful issue I struggle to handle I turn to someone who has already faced that problem and consult with them.
I have learned more in the school of experience than I ever learned in seminary or university. I have learned to hold on to this life lightly. Whatever I may achieve or come to possess in this life will all be left for others when I face my Creator. Only what I have done for the Lord will remain.
I urge all of my readers to live in light of eternity. Seek to live now as you will wish you had when you stand before the Judge of all humanity. Always keep yourself close to the One who died and rose again for sinners. Follow hard after Him and some day you will see Him as He stands to welcome you into your eternal home. It shall be a glorious awakening.