Colossians 1:24-25 NLT
“I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you”
Right now I am involved in an online Bible study through the book of Colossians. I am having a very hard time because it seems as though my life has become a mirror of what we are studying at the current point in time. I read the scripture about Paul and he says, “I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body..” I will share a little background of the pain I have in my heart right now without sharing others names and or any identifiable information. I have a friend who moved across the country with her husband only to be left there alone shortly after they moved and then served with divorce papers. Another who is in the process of leaving her husband right now because of domestic violence. Another dear friend is standing in the gap for her marriage to be healed after her husband left over six years ago and she was recently served with divorce papers. I have a friend who her adult daughter recently moved home because of domestic violence in her marriage. A friend who lost her husband suddenly, she is battling cancer and has two children still at home. Another friend whose marriage is rocky at best and it seems to be they’re both barely hanging on. I have two friends who are single and waiting for God to bring them husbands they desperately want to be married and have been waiting for many, many years.
These are just some of the many real heartfelt struggles of my friends’ lives. These are the burdens of the many broken hearts, unfulfilled dreams, and loneliness felt by probably all of them. They have shared their struggles and prayer requests and many tears with me and my husband. We have prayed and cried so many times for the sufferings and the burdens of our friends. Our hearts break for the losses many of them have suffered. We ache for the holes left behind and the scars that are so deep. I cannot remember a time when we ever were glad for their sufferings. I cannot recall a time when we rejoiced that the sufferings and trials were continuing. I can’t comprehend the thought for myself in times of trial let alone a dear friend. It seems callous and heartless to say in someones’ pain and deep heartache that we would rejoice and be glad for them. I can’t even begin to think it let alone say it.
How do we get to the place to be glad when we suffer? The definition of glad is: pleased, delighted, happy, overjoyed. None of these words describe how I feel when I am suffering. I think of pleased, delighted, happy, and overjoyed when a baby is born, or someone is married, but I don’t associate glad with suffering. There are so many emotions I have racing through me as I share my friends burdens and those of my own past. My heart breaks because I have been through divorce and I know the pain wounds cut so deep I never thought could heal. I lived through domestic violence and hearing someone else’s struggles brings the pain, terror and fear flooding back. I remember being single, lonely and depressed, waiting for the Lord to bring my husband to love me.
In my life it seems that after the trial I have seen what the Lord was doing, but not always. Very rarely do I remember, if ever, during the suffering was I able to see “The Why.” Sometimes during the trials and storms I can remember the peace of God but not always. I question how much of the real struggle was me? How much was I not ready to surrender it all the Lord? During those trials if I could go back and ask myself if I surrendered my struggles to the Lord, I bet I would have said, “I did surrender it all, several times.” How do we surrender our trials our sufferings our pain when we think we have? How do we surrender it when we don’t know how? I am just at this place again right now and I am at a loss. The only thing I know how to do is to get down on my knees and confess it all to the only one who can heal and who can carry these burdens and pain and loss. Lord Jesus, you see the pain of these friends of our’s and our own. You see the destruction. You see our sin and guilt and condemnation, you see it all the whole picture. God we need you to take it all and breathe live into us. Give us your yoke, impart wisdom to us from your Holy Spirit to understand what it means to be glad when we suffer for you in our bodies. Help us Lord. Bring healing to all of us. Bring restoration. Bring miracles. Save marriages. Convict hearts. Strengthen feeble knees. Restore hope once lost and dreams shattered. We need you Jesus, meet us here on our knees. In Jesus name amen.
There is a song that I have been listening to lately called Touch The Sky by Hillsong. The words say:
My heart beating
My soul breathing
I found my life
When I laid it down
I touch the sky
When my knees hit the ground