Today, during my devotions I read a story about an elderly woman living in the former Soviet Union who had been imprisoned for her faith. As she lay shivering in her cell, she began to pray. I was struck by her prayer. Yes, she did ask God to deliver her from prison and she believed He was able to do so. However, she went a bit further. She said that if it was God's will for her to be frozen in her cell then let His will be done.
I think that many of us are not willing to pray such a prayer. We reason that God does not want us to suffer and therefore any sort of pain or suffering cannot possibly be a part of God's plan for us. He must deliver us now and that's that! We fail to realize that a pathway of pain and suffering may very well be the road that strategically places us exactly where God needs us to be for others, for ourselves or both.
In this particular story, the woman was not delivered from prison, at least not yet. Instead, she felt herself enveloped by the warmth of God's love. Turning to her cellmate who was crying from the cold, she put her arms around her and immediately, God's warmth enveloped her cellmate as well. Though these two women were later separated, the second woman shared the testimony of how God warmed up the first woman who in turn warmed her up. What a beautiful story of God's love and care!
We can look at this story from two different points of view. On the one hand, we could say that a woman who was simply trying to live for God ended up getting thrown into a cold prison cell and did not have enough faith to be delivered from it. On the other hand, one could say that there was a woman in a cold prison cell who needed to experience the love of God and hear The Good News. So, God sent one of His children into her "world" so that she might come to know Him.
When trouble comes our way, how will we respond to it? Will we bitterly complain or will we remember that God is the one who directs our path. Will we simply endure or will we submit to God's will with love and meekness, becoming a victor over rather than a victim of our circumstances? Will we let our light shine bright, even in the darkest of storms?
O our this is a beautiful truth that you have captured -
[quote] On the other hand, one could say that there was a woman in a cold prison cell who needed to experience the love of God and hear The Good News. So, God sent one of His children into her "world" so that she might come to know Him.[/quote]
This is truth - amen
[quote]We fail to realize that a pathway of pain and suffering may very well be the road that strategically places us exactly where God needs us to be for others, for ourselves or both.[/quote]
I am experiencing the profound truth of this, for never in my imagination would I have thought that the pathway of pain and suffering that I have experienced over the last 23 years would be the road that would parallel almost to the letter of the pain and suffering that a very dear friend of mine has come to experience in her life for the past 7. But because of my acquaintanceship with this trial, I have been able to help her -- by the grace of God -- in ways that no one else could even possibly begin to understand.
How merciful, kind, and patient God has been to me through this 23-year trial; and how He has made His presence known to me and shown me His marvelous love in ways that never cease to amaze me.
Thank you for sharing this story. It has reminded me of the "greatness of God," and how true His word is that reads, [i]"My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." [/i] (KJV II Cor. 12: 9) -enje