Suffering and Trials:

 

         Victoria Falls:

Victoria Falls (or Mosi-oa-Tunya) is a waterfall in southern Africa on the Zambezi River at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer, is believed to have been the first European to view Victoria Falls on 16 November 1855 from what is now known as Livingstone Island, one of two land masses in the middle of the river, immediately upstream from the falls on the Zambian side. Livingstone named his discovery in honour of Queen Victoria, but the indigenous name, Mosi-oa-Tunya—”the smoke that thunders”—continues in common usage as well.

 Victoria Falls is the largest falls in the world.  It is a mile wide and there is 1000 ft. drop.  It also has the world’s largest rapids. In classifying these rapids, they are a “7 & 8”, which by comparison, in the USA, a “5” is the legal rapid on which to raft.

 A man, donning his life jacket, was preparing to attempt to raft these rapids when he was told:

“When the raft flips (not if it flips…but when), do not go to the calm waters on the side of the river.  You will be tempted to do so ….but do not.  Lurking in the calm, still, stagnant waters are alligators. They are waiting for you to come there.  Stay in the rapid white water.  The rapid white water is where safety is.”

 In life we are tempted to try to go to the place where things are not in such turmoil and the tempest is not raging.  But the Lord has designed the white water for our good and His Glory.  That is where He is growing us, showing us Himself, and proving Himself to be faithful.

 Sometimes in our lives when there is calm, we get lax, let our guard down, and become victim to the things in life that cause destruction.  We can be tempted to trust in our own strength and wisdom, thinking we are doing OK.  We do not grow in the calm as much as when we have something thrusting us into the very arms of Jesus.

 C. H. Spurgeon said…

“I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.”

 Phil. 1:27-30a :

 “Only let your conversation (conduct) be as it becometh the gospel of Christ, that …I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel; and in nothing terrified by your adversaries, which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake….”

 Verse 28: the word “terrified” is referring to a horse that panics in battle (fear in battle that leads to disastrous results)….. scared, and ready to bolt.

Don’t bolt…stay the course…stay in the “white water rapids”:

  • they are by God’s design
  • to draw us to Himself (“be found in Him”…Phil. 3:9)
  • in a closer walk with Him
  • a greater manifestation of Christ in our life
  • to a greater (deeper) belief (trust) in Him
  • through this “suffering” for His sake, He is magnified
  • experience his everlasting arms around us
  • penetrated with His everlasting love (Jere.31:3)
  • saturated with Him in strength
  • fulfilled in His purpose
  • sensing His perspective on the eternal
  • strengthened in spirit by his victory in us and through us
  • ….and knowing in the depths of our soul that… He Is Enough…!!!!

 

The result is that ….

-the things of earth become strangely dim…

-our sight becomes fixed on Jesus….

-we sense what it means to be “crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20)

-we get a glimpse of the “fellowship of His suffering” (Phil. 3:10)

-we see and know the “power of the resurrection” in our lives (Phil. 3:10)

-we see the Crucified with enhanced spirit vision….

 11 Tim. 3:12 – 14

“Yea, and all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.  But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of Whom thou hast learned them.”

1 Peter 4:12 – 13

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you, but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that, when His glory  shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

Elisabeth Elliot says…”Think of your pain, trial, troubles as a challis, to be held up and offered up to the Lord, even in the midst of your suffering…stop what you are doing and offer it up as an act of worship……..anything offered up to God  becomes a gateway to joy.”

What is worship…is it not giving back to Him what is already His?  …ourselves?  our money?

Our praise and adoration already belongs to Him…He is worthy of all of it.

Should we not offer up the trial that He gives us?  The situation is His; it is of His doing;

All things are from His hand (Colos. 1:15-18).  Can we trust that nail-pierced hand?

When we lay it at His feet, are we not worshiping Him in all things?

What work is that doing in our heart…is it not saying to Him exactly what Christ said to Him in the garden of Gethsemane?

 “ Father…  not my will, but Thine be done.” (Luke 22:42)

 Did the Father suffer with Christ in the garden, and on Calvary?

(He suffers with us, as we suffer for Him.)

 Was the Father touched with that suffering?

 He is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities”…

Does he care how we feel?  Yes, offer that up to Him as an act of worship.

He suffers with us (Hebr. 4:13-16) (I Peter 5:7)

It is Ok to say …”Lord, you know I do not want to do this, but I will do it for you.”

Then offer it up to Him in an act of worship.  Make daily things an offering up in worship.

 Here are some results of suffering (which is a gift of His grace), and points to the reality that you are genuinely His:

  1. It strengthens the testimony of the one that endures.
  2. Weeds out superficial beliefs/believers.
  3. Crushes our pride (suffer shame for His name).
  4. Adds to our future rewards
  5. Weans us from self-sufficiency and self-promotion
  6. Informs us we are not in control
  7. Causes us to worship God with purified motives
  8. We stop asking for temporal trivial things.

 Acts 5: 40-41…”beaten…rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

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