Suffering for Someone Else’s Benefit

cry_me_a_river.pngI enjoy watching Joyce Meyer’s program, Enjoying Everyday Life, on my Roku. (Did you know she has her own free Roku channel?) She recently did a sermon series on the Book of James, which is the first book of the Bible I memorized, so it’s near and dear to my heart. She said something profound that I have been mulling over – that sometimes when we suffer, it has nothing to do with us!

I confess that in my flesh, I am extremely self-absorbed. While I know this is something we all struggle with, being self-focused was reinforced in my life in numerous ways for decades, so I am extremely vulnerable to slipping back into bad habits, which is why I am vigilant about engaging in spiritual disciplines, such as the fundamental practices I have previously written about. As I shared before, I spent the vast majority of December 2017 very sick, which impeded my ability to engage in some spiritual disciplines, such as going to church and serving in my church. Additionally, I was so weak some mornings that my quiet time had little praise & worship but was mostly me sobbing for God to heal me. As I engaged in fewer spiritual disciplines, my self-absorption grew, and I’m still in the process of humbling myself back to where I was before I became sick. It’s been a hard road.

I prayed for God to reveal to me why I was suffering. I try not to ask God “why” anymore, However, I became so self-absorbed in my pain that I did, anyhow. The answer I received was that it wasn’t about me! God was at work in someone else’s life, and my being incapacitated was really about what He is doing in this other person’s life, not mine. A couple of weeks later, I heard Joyce Meyer’s sermon in which she mentioned the same dynamic, and I knew that I had heard from God correctly.

Why would God allow me to suffer for another person’s benefit? I’ll address that in my next blog entry.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace crying a river of tears. Courtesy Bitmoji.]