Thank you, Jesus

Isaiah 43:2 

“When you pass through the waters,

    I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

    they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

    you will not be burned;

    the flames will not set you ablaze”

I had a precious friend in North Africa, where I lived for 8 years.  She was a local with a hard life of faithfulness to Jesus. I would see her often and every time she had a big smile on her face.  Her face and her sweet hugs were always a joy to me. We would ask each other how we were doing, and she would respond with what was hard and what was good.  But, what I find myself going back to in my mind is how each time she spoke of something hard in her life, following her sharing she would look up and say, “thank you Jesus.”  It was simple, quiet, and more for herself than for me. She had a life of thankfulness in all circumstances. This instructed me in ways I had not realized until I find myself in hard situations and I remember her. 

Blessing is a promise from God, in all the small ways and big ways, but so also is suffering.  Suffering is a promise of God, and yet He says two things we can always be grateful for in suffering.  He will be with us. This is a better promise than for our suffering to go away. The suffering transforms us to be more like him, and to live a life more like his.  Suffering trains us, educates us, builds us up in strength, and prepares us. It likely also saves us. It saves us from what could have been. Perhaps something much worse that we do not even understand we are being saved from. 

 It is most often a conversion story includes an experience of great suffering, a true low point in ones’ life.  There is something very holy about suffering. This does not mean we pursue hardship and suffering, but it does instruct us as to the perspective we can have in the suffering.  Gratefulness. Grateful that the suffering will instruct us, will prune us, will refine us, will show us deeper intimacy with God of the Universe, will bring us to a place we would not otherwise be, will prepare us, and save us. 

So, this month, even though there are things even now that are hard, and I wish were not so hard, I want to choose gratefulness, to see with the eyes of wisdom, which says even this has its place, and because of this:  more of Jesus.

~ Chrissy

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