The Morse Family

Beyond Me

Beyond Me

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"great" news?

I receive "Joni and Friends Daily Devotional" in my inbox every morning. This is what I was greeted with this morning. I will comment at the end of this selection copied straight from the email subscription that Joni sends:

Joni and Friends Daily Devotional

August 19

Dear Heather,

Life Ain't Easy

"We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God."
- Acts 14:22

Everyone who takes the Bible seriously, and many who don't, agree that God hates suffering. Jesus spent much of his short life relieving it. Scores of passages tell us to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, visit inmates, and speak up for the helpless. When we feel compassion for people in distress, we know that God felt it first. He shows this by raising sick people from their beds sometimes to the wonder of doctors, in answer to prayer. Every day he grants childless women babies, pulls small business owners out of financial pits, protects Alzheimer's patients crossing the street, and writes happy endings to sad situations. Even when he has to punish sin, he says it gives him no pleasure (Ezekiel18:32). In heaven, Eden's curse will be canceled. Sighs and longings will be historical curiosities. Tears will evaporate. Tissue companies will go broke.

But it simply doesn't follow that God's only relationship to suffering is to relieve it. He specifically says that all who follow him can expect hardship. But didn't Jesus hang on a cross so we wouldn't have to suffer hell? Yes, but not so we wouldn't have to suffer here on earth. Listen to the Bible on this:

"I will show [Paul] how much he must suffer for my name" (Acts 9:16).

"For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ... to suffer for him... " (Philippians 1:29).

The Bible goes even further. After calling Christians "heirs of God and co heirs with Christ" it adds "if indeed we share in his sufferings." In other words, no one goes to Christ's heaven who doesn't first share Christ's sufferings. Do you think you should be exempt from suffering? Listen to this final word from Hebrews 5:8, "Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered..." This week, purpose in your heart to be no greater than your Master. If he suffered, you can expect it too.

* * * * *

What "GREAT" news right?
Thinking about all of my friends who are suffering right now...cancer, infertility, miscarriages, marital issues, divorce, terminally ill children, and other such sufferings...I not only want to make all of my friend's problems disappear, maybe even pray them away with a prayer that sounds something like, "Dearest Lord, please take away their hardship and suffering..." but I also want to pray a prayer that sounds something like this, "and dear Lord, PLEASE NOT ME! don't let any of these terrible things happen to our family."

I cringe...we are going through an exciting time right now with being on the verge of selling our house, having a healthy toddler who is a joy right now, having a marriage that has its problems but is, for the most part, a joy...but the Christian life is a life where we learn from what we suffer. Because we are such flawed folk, we don't turn to Christ when we don't feel like we need Him. We don't lean on Him, when we think our lives are going well.

So the great news sounds something like this: He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son does not have life. 1 John 5:12 Period. Not, He who has the Son and an easy life and an obedient child and a compassionate husband and a nice house and no stray grays has life. He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son does not have life. 1 John 5:12

Praise be to God that You are all we need. Will you help me to really believe this is true?

James1:2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.


  1. I DO love Joni. And I love God's Word even more -- such a comfort, even when it's saying to expect suffering. I'm holding my breath for Jena (Ashlie's SIL) today, as she waits to see if her levels have gone back up. I just can't IMAGINE how exhausted and discouraged she must feel. Anyway, thanks for sharing. Love, Erika

  2. Thanks for sharing, friend. It's a word I needed.