It has been about three weeks since I last posted on this blog. The reason is that God has been doing a deep work in my heart and going after things that I had not given Him as of yet due to my own pain from things in my past. It has been a very intense time while Jesus ministered to me through a couple of precious saints who have suffered much in the last few years.
“For by one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit… That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” (1 Corinthians 12:13-27 KJ2000)
Have you ever thought about the depths of Paul’s love for Jesus when he wrote, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death” (Philippians 3:10 KJ2000)? “The fellowship of HIS sufferings! What a curious thing to say, Paul. Isn’t fellowship suppose to make us feel all warm and fuzzy?
Jesus made it clear that the goal of the Father is for us who are His to walk in this world just as He did, motivated by the love of the Father and being poured-out for those in need. And that means that we should not be indifferent to the pains of another if we are truly living IN Christ. We are in touch with their pain because HE is in touch with their pains and sufferings! We are to be their “Jesus with skin on,” and be His conduit of love and comfort in their time of need.
So, how often do we find this same sacrificial love of Christ among our fellow Christians when WE are the ones who are suffering? Sure, they will often offer “sound advice” when we are troubled and maybe even be given the name of “a good counsellor,” but they either want to get away from our pain or quickly put the “fix” on us to make themselves more comfortable. They don’t want us to rock their perfectly orchestrated worlds.
One time I was going through a hard time in my life when nothing seemed to be going right. I went to church one Sunday hoping to find comfort. A brother walked up, shook my hand and said, “How are you doing, brother? Good to see you!” As I started to share with him just how I was doing and shared the first thing that had befell me, thinking he really cared, he said, “Well, that’s great, brother, see you next Sunday,” turned and walked away!
How often has someone like this or even a family member just sat there with us, held our hand as we poured-out our hearts, cried with us and really entered into OUR sufferings and pain? Yes, true love and fellowship with another member of Christ’s body sometimes requires that we suffer with the one who is hurting and just love them through it all without doing our best to put a “FIX” on them, until Christ heals them in HIS time. We live in such a shallow world when we look for REAL fellowship and enduring love and no one wants to be bothered. When we are suffering it can be a very lonely world, but Jesus leaves the 99 sheep, goes out, finds us, and personally loves and heals us.
Paul wrote, “Bear you one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 KJ2000). This requires getting down in the trenches with those who are burdened and helping them with their load. May we all search our hearts and ask the Lord to change us so that we walk as Christ does with all those He puts in our lives, for better or for worse, in their triumphs and their sufferings. As one pastor used to say, “This is a test! This life is ONLY a test.”