Psalm 16:5-6 (NLT)
LORD, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance!
There have been many days over the past two years that I have pleaded with the Lord to pass this cup from our life. With each new diagnosis of cancer in our son, my heart has been laid out before the Lord for His Examination. Certainly there must be something that we are doing wrong. Perhaps, there is something that we are not asking for because His Word says, “Ask anything in my Name and I will do it!” Maybe we have just been obedient enough or good enough to secure God’s Cup of Blessing in our life. Yet the Word tells me that the Lord alone is my inheritance. He is my Cup of Blessing. It goes on to say that He guards all that is mine insuring me that it is pleasant land and a wonderful inheritance. Some days I am willing to admit it doesn’t feel that way. There are days when I wonder how much more this family can endure, how much farther can we go, and can we hold it all together to finish the race? We have to finish the race of faith and enter the realm of hope that we are promised. This is a matter of life and death. To stop, quit or give up now is no longer an option for the price is much too high. There are so many days when I have asked the Lord to pass the cup from our son and then waited and watched only for him to endure yet again. Make no mistake, our family has seen the Hand of God, the Healing of Jesus Christ and the Help of His Spirit every single step of the way. But can we do when the cup of suffering stops before us? Why would God allow this for the ones He calls His Special Possession, Treasure and Beloved? This is probably the hardest thing to understand as believers when bad things happen to godly people. It happened before Jesus Christ. It happened while He was here. It happened after He died, rose again and ascended. It will continue to happen until He returns. We must somehow learn to see past hardships, trails and pain to the inheritance that is the Blessing of God that He is desperately trying to deposit in our life. Yes, it sometimes is found in suffering.
Luke 22:41-44 (NLT)
He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
If anyone understands the pain of suffering, it is our Lord Jesus Christ. To consider that the sin of all mankind was His to endure on the Cross. (I Peter 3:18) Not to mention, the stripes on His Back that represent healing for His People. Consider this…the sin of every human being saved and unsaved were paid for on the Cross can you imagine the penalty that Jesus endured for not only ordinary people but even those who choose to reject Him. The thought is overwhelming. To consider the pain of each stripe that is for our healing, the thought occurred to me that this must include the pain of every illness, sickness and disease. Then I considered what my own son has endured times every single person who was ever born, the pain of such is unimaginable. Jesus knows suffering. He gets it. He endured it and most importantly, He overcame it. Though He bore the load of many, it was your face that He saw when it came to your sin, shame and pain. Jesus asked, “His Father to please take this cup from me.” But the most important thing that Jesus demonstrates in this moment is that He was willing to endure suffering and drink from the cup if it was His Father’s Will. “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine!” I have struggled with this many times over the last couple of years. How many times have I tried to be strong enough to accept the suffering to get to the blessing? But each diagnosis brought its own desperation. We had no choice but to accept the suffering and endure for the cure. Now my son has been given a choice will you endure suffering for a better chance at life? We have prayed. Oh, how I have prayed! We have sought the council of wise professionals and yes, continued to pray for the Lord to guide us secretly hoping that He would at some point say, “Nope, stop right here. This is over!” But He has not as we take tiny steps of faith forward diving into the realm of hope!
“Then an angel appeared and strengthened him.” Not every account of this moment has this revelation. It would seem that the minute that the man of Jesus submitted to the Will of God, instantly he was strengthened by the Presence of God. “While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered. In this way, God qualified him as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:7-9) An angel strengthened Jesus, but now we have His Power inside of us. The more we suffer in our pursuit of Jesus Christ, the more that He will comfort and strengthen us. (I Corinthians 1:5-7) By accepting God’s Will when times get tough and seeking His Face, we determine if this trial is one we are to step over or go through. We ask the Lord if it is Your Will pass this cup from me, but if it is Your Will Lord then pass the cup to me! Those that are avoidable will be removed but when it is time to go through it, do not be afraid – God is with you, working for you and working through you to bless you beyond belief in the outcome.
Psalm 23:5-6 (NLT)
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.
If the Lord must prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies it would seem to me that there may be some tough times ahead, right? He anoints my head with oil and my cup overflows with blessings so again there must be some validity that we are going to suffer some in this life. But why? Why would God allow those He sent His Son to die for to suffer as well? I am so glad you asked that question! The Valley of Weeping is in this world but we are not of this world so in the midst of chaos – the Lord has hidden joy, peace and strength for His People to endure to the end. (Matthew 24:10-13) Suffering is the birthplace of endurance and literally means prepare to endure. The root word literally means to undergo and/or endure. Suffering is a direct result of sin that cursed the earth. (Isaiah 24:5-6) A curse consumes the earth only people are part of God’s Salvation Plan. So despite the fact that we have been saved, the world in which we live has not been. We should not be surprised by the trials that we face but be ready for them. (I Peter 4:12) The Word even tells us to look for joy in them. (James 1:12) God will allow suffering if it leads to life. (Psalm 71:19-21) “In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen.” (I Peter 5:10-11) Suffering is not meant to destroy God’s People but empower them to live forever! It is the opportunity to learn to endure to the end, experience God’s Blessings, and full empowerment of God! Yes, you will suffer. It is a part of life on a dying planet, but you will not be left behind to be destroyed by the curse as the Glory of God works in you and through you to make your way out! It was predicted that the Messiah would suffer many things before entering His Glory – and He did. Read the word and you will find that there is joy and blessing in our suffering because He suffered for us! We are not exempt from such things by the Grace of God but enabled to endure by the Power of God working in us!
Romans 8:26-30 (NLT)
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
We have been given the Holy Spirit as our helper. His Spirit teaches us to live in harmony with God’s Will. Remember…not my will but Your Will God! God has a purpose and plan for our life with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) God’s Glory is released in our suffering as we submit to the Will and Way of God for our life. We depend on Him in that moment fully trusting by faith the unseen rather than taking hold of the seen and making it a reality in our life. The enemy wants our suffering to become bitterness which creates hostility between us and God. “The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Lamentations 3:19-23) The difference between those who succeed in suffering to produce endure and those who succumb to suffering which leads to disappointment is this – “Yet I still dare to hope…” Hope is the anchor of our soul. (Hebrews 6:19) It keeps our faith solidly fixed on the Lord no matter what is going on around us. We must remember in our suffering that God is faithful working every single detail for the good! His Mercy is new each morning so it is perfectly fine to completely exhaust today’s supply in making your way into the Presence of God. No need to live on reserves. If you will grab hold of faith and anchor it with confident hope, you will endure. No matter how strong the wind or violent the storm, you will see the Glory of God which is our inheritance along with every single blessing that He has been guarding for us. “We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.” (James 5:11) God is ready to release His Glory in our life but will we accept a cup of suffering to have it? (Romans 8:15-25)
I Peter 4:12-19 (NLT)
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? And also, “If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners?” So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.
Suffering is all about building endurance to make it to the end and claim our inheritance in God. It is never a result of our sin. Jesus paid the price for every sin you will ever commit. You can add nothing to it. Don’t be surprised by fiery trials but accept God’s Grace in your life to stand strong and overcome the enemy’s assaults. His Grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) The more you experience the fullness of God’s Grace the more you will determine that it is more than enough. God will not fail you but in His Will He will prosper you! It tells us throughout the Word of God that His Ways are higher and so are His Thoughts! It also reminds us that He uses foolish things to confound those who think they are wise. Suffering is an opportunity to trust the Lord with our life. Each trial allows us to experience more of His Love, Grace and Mercy. We don’t have to endure suffering of the world that leads to death, but to the Glory of God accepting His Strength, Joy, Peace and every other blessing that He has prepared for us. As you consider your present trial, I encourage you to ask the Lord to pass the cup from me or if it is Your Will Lord pass it right to me!
Philippians 3:8-11 (NLT)
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!