Friday, September 7, 2012

True Metal

It seems like somehow suffering is linked to our worthiness of the Gospel of Christ.

"Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.  This is evidence of the righteous judgement of God, that you may be considered worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering.  ...To this end we always pray for you that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power."
2 Thessalonians 1:4-5, 11

We suffer for the Kingdom of God, and by it, God makes us worthy of his calling.

I'm not entirely sure how this translates to me in losing Cora.

Could it be that how we handle suffering is what makes us worthy or not?  The "steadfastness and faith" of the Thessalonians is what caused Paul to boast about them.  Because of their steadfastness and faith in the face of persecutions and afflictions, he considered them worthy of the Kingdom and worthy of God's calling.

Now, I ought to be careful to not to slip into a doctrine of works here.   This is my disclaimer!  Steadfastness and faith are certainly works, but they must be fruits produced by the indwelling Holy Spirit.   It seems to me that I cannot, on my own strength, be perfectly steadfast nor faithful!  Neither are a natural response in the face of trial.  My human condition -my frailty, sin and feeble mind- impair me from standing strong and keeping faith.  It is only God's Spirit within me that allows me to bear up under such sorrow and to have faith beyond all hope in God's goodness.

So in reality, it is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives that is the true metal of the Christian and it His work which makes us worthy of the Kingdom and of the call of Christ.   It just so happens to be showcased best by affliction.  In this way, suffering not only makes us more like Christ, it makes us worthy of the calling of God and of his Kingdom.

This may be part of his purpose for me in losing Cora.

I don't like it.  I wish He would have chosen to do it another way.  In truth, I'd still rather have my baby, but I am learning to trust that God's calling is greater by far than any earthly joy.  I must remember and believe this.

Lord, make me worthy of your calling and Kingdom through this pain.  By your Spirit, help me be steadfast and faithful.  Help me stand the test and through it be made "perfect and complete" (James 1:4) for your purpose, pleasure, glory and praise.

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