Suffering hits us all. Now, it is true that the older you get the more often and more enduring it seems to be. The joints ache. The back gets stiff. The feet get sore. The energy is spent by noon. And that’s just the stuff on the outside. Internally, at some point we must have some things removed, right? Gallbladder and appendix. Tonsils. And some hernias repaired and bones mended and malignant cells removed. Life can be lived under the impression of invulnerability. But one day that is shattered. Life suddenly looks shorter, and we gain some perspective. Hopefully.
I don’t have any announcements or anything, but I came across the wisdom of Paul Tripp a couple of weeks back and wanted to share some of his thoughts. About four years ago, he barely escaped death, but it left him tired and weary. Always exhausted. You may be in that season of life as well. But even in that season we should learn something about God and about ourselves.
Not all struggles are physical. Sometimes life gets us down and it has nothing to do with our bodies. It could be a nagging relational issue that just eats away at us. Or a financial circumstance.
How do you respond? Or better…how are you responding? Are you letting the Spirit accomplish eternal results through your temporary trial? Even if that trial lasts for the rest of your life? Let me “borrow” Paul Tripp’s words.
Your responses to the situations in your life, whether physical, relational, or circumstantial, are always more determined by what is inside your heart than by the things you are facing. You never come to your suffering empty-handed. You always drag a bag full of experiences, expectations, assumptions, perspectives, desires, intentions, and decisions into your suffering. What you think about yourself, life, God, and others will profoundly affect the way you interact with and respond to the difficulty that comes your way.
Therefore, the writer of Proverbs says: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
What are you carrying around in your soul that has the potential to complicate your suffering? What are you preaching to yourself that could allow you to forget the truths of the gospel?
Never forget: No matter what painful thing you’re enduring, as God’s child, it’s impossible for you to endure it all by yourself.
The One who created this world and rules it with wisdom, righteousness, and love is in you, with you, and for you, and nothing has the power to separate you from His love.
Do you need an example? Chat with Mary Jeanne Buttrey, my hero. She is facing her second round of chemo with her heart set on Jesus and her hope firmly in heaven. You see, it is what you bring to your trial which makes all the difference in your life. Our suffering is more powerfully shaped by what’s in our heart than by what’s in our body or the world around us. What are you cultivating in your heart that would prepare you for the aches of life? Learn to cling to Jesus and His Word.