Friday, June 13, 2008
THE CUP OF SUFFERING - By Rev. Len Paxton
St. John 18:11 " Then said Jesus unto Peter, put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it ?"
This cup very often points to some kind of suffering. God is in control, even of our suffering. No one likes to suffer. I do not enjoy suffering. I did not wish to be the victim of injustice nor to be apart from my wife and loved ones. I did not wish to hear all of the sad stories of all the broken lives around me. But God allows the things He allows for a reason; His reason.
God's reasons for allowing suffering in our lives are never for our destruction. Read Romans 8: 18,28.
When we drink deeply from the cup of God; He is revealed in us and to us. The Glory of God is resident within us and can only be revealed when we come to the end of ourselves.
Sometimes it is as if we must force ourselves to choke down a bitter cup. Why ? We do it because we believe in the Fathers bigger picture. You see, your suffering is not your end. Yes, Jesus died on the Cross, but He rose from the dead; thereby making our redemption complete. The suffering is only a part, not the whole. Our completeness is awaiting us on the other side of the storm.
God's purposes for us are always good, no matter where we are today. He has called us to His glory. God has equipped us to rise above any challenge, any struggle, any suffering; and be more like Jesus when we are through to the other side of the storm. Read Romans 8:37.
The purpose of God's intense glory is often to change people &/or circumstances. So, we yield to a cup from our Father. We often do not know the " why", but still we yield to God in the midst of questioning. We echo Jesus words in Gethsemane " Nevertheless, not My will but thine, be done." [ Luke 22: 42]. As Jesus dreaded the coming brief separation from the Father, I too have dreaded my separation from all I know and love. But as I have learned to trust God, He has revealed a little of His glory in my heart and this increases daily.
We are coming through the storm. We will not die in the storm.
We will drink the cup and although it is bitter; we know that the future God has for us will be filled with His Glory. Parts of our character may die, but we will experience the resurrection of God's Glory in that area of our lives. The Lord will use the cup to accomplish His purposes and to make us what He desires us to be.
Suffering accomplishes another purpose as well. It often allows us to see some things from the perspective of Christ. If you have never suffered, it is difficult to see things from the perspective of those who do suffer. Jesus bore intense pain and only when I bear intense pain can I even begin to understand something of His thoughts and Love. Sometimes, I have prayed and told Christ that I couldn't stand much more. He spoke to my heart and said " I know how you feel, I've been there too." Then I realized that in my suffering I could identify with Jesus in a way I had never known before. Jesus and I are brothers in suffering and now I can see some things from His perspective.
Times of trial and suffering are never pleasant but God's purpose can & will be accomplished as we learn to respond correctly to the cup that the Father gives us to drink. We must never lose sight of Christ and Him Crucified. Our victory is through the Cross.
This was originally a partner letter that I wrote during a very difficult time in my life.
Angie and I had suffered betrayal at the hands of people that we cared alot about. It is our prayer that if you are in the midst of any kind of suffering today, that this message will encourage you. We love you.
Posted by Rev. Len Paxton at 3:37 PM 0 comments