Suffer the church, Unto Me
By Shara Weiss
Today I read an article titled Asking ‘Why Me, God?’ But in a Different Way. I enjoyed the perspective shared, as it’s a topic I’ve pondered extensively over the last year. While I have never accepted the Health and Wealth Gospel as a Biblical truth, I’ve also never suffered the way I have during the last twelve months. I had it nice and easy up until then. Until late 2013 my life was quite calm and rational, contented, settled and easy. All of our needs have been met (albeit we sometimes struggle to get clients to pay on time), my health has been good, and I haven’t had much to complain about.
The last year has been very different for me. I felt attacked from every direction: food running low in our home, a random bug outbreak that no one else in our neighborhood experienced, health issues, stress and panic attacks, items breaking in our home, friends betraying us, and much more. It has all settled down now but in those trying months I found myself asking the Lord, “What have I done to offend You? Have I wronged you? Sinned against you, Lord? Please tell me so that I can make this right.” I had a friend tell me that I must have something inside me (sin wise) to bring this on and she recommended that I search my heart and ask God to point it out. While various explanations have come, there has been one resounding response from God, at my request for answers: He leads me to Scripture verses as His reply.
Here are a few of the primary verses He has led me to, in order to meditate on them:
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake. Philippians 1:29
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. Romans 8:17
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10
He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 10:39
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:29
I learned over time that my biggest struggle was with the mind. I didn’t know Scripture like I needed to and that gave the enemy an “in” with me. The lies flowed like water for months, as I struggled to place my feet on solid ground. My husband washed me in The Word day after day, week after week, month after month, until I had memorized verses and better understood the nature of God. I went to church each Sunday, not missing a single service. I attended Thursday night Bible studies, prayed without ceasing, and asked the Lord to give me the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7). I listened to hymns and praise songs at home and in my car and when no radio was available, I sang songs from my childhood Sunday School classes. I packed my mind so full of God that it began to flow out into every aspect of my life.
I’m on the other side of this now and at this point, the devil has lost his footing with me. The joy of the Lord is my strength. While I sometimes long for full and complete answers to all of my questions, I rest in faith that God is good – that anything God does, or allows, is good – and that I can put my entire life in His hands, knowing that He will finish the work He began (Philippians 1:6).
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28:7