17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.KJV
24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.KJV
17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.KJV
As I look back on this last year of 2005 I am amazed to find that year a year of trials and adversities. A very hard year to say the least. But I know that the testing of my faith produces all good fruit. Testing refines us as gold. Testing burns away the dross. Testing purifies us. Testing causes us (I hope) to cling to Jesus. I am thankful that through suffering comes good things. However I find it hard to say that good fruit has come about through these trials and testings. Have I changed for the better? I really don’t know. I see some of the same ole habits still lingering–the same ole attitudes. And for me it seems that I have only drifted further and not nearer to Christ.
We were visiting a church on Sunday and the pastor opened up the mic for people to come and share what the Lord has done in their lives this past year. It was amazing to hear the great stories of miracles and good things happening to people. And yet, I heard no one speak of the great trials or sufferings they encountered during 2005. I sat there in my seat and repeatedly asked the Lord–what great things did you do through us or in us this year? There was nothing–no answer. My mind was literally blocked from remembering back to anytime where the Lord moved mightily through us to touch others or great miracles or whatever. I could easily thinnk of prior years where the Lord moved mightily in our lives–but it seems that this past year was only one of trial for us. And in that the Lord was teaching me something about the goodness of suffering. Suffering for the kingdom–bearing the adversity that I faced–that my husband has faced–that we have faced together–only to be thankful in all things whatever our place may be. Even as Paul said…
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. KJV
So this past year I have begun to learn what it means to suffer. I don’t think I have become content in my suffering. Only that I know what it means to suffer. And at the same time there are many things I am thankful for–to have a job– to have a place of rest–to have a wonderful husband who loves the Lord and most of all–I am thankful that Jesus is my Saviour. It is His desire to walk with me and talk with me and tell me I am His own. But I know that many times I have not been faithful–to walk with Him and talk with Him. But I have done things on my own–my own way–without Him and this has grieved Him…forgive me Lord for not keeping you first.
So with this year and whatever it may bring–whether more adversity or a smile………..in all things I must learn to be content and know that I can do all things through Christ–who strengthens me.