Wednesday, June 14, 2017

To the afflicted

Dear Afflicted One,
I received word that you are suffering. The report was not breaking news to me. I already knew you were in terrible physical distress. I knew because I've been watching. I have seen every hardship you've faced and every malady you've endured. Believe me when I tell you that not a single one of your aches or pains has gone unnoticed by me. I've been witness to them all but you already knew that much. It is not my presence that you've doubted, it is what I'm doing in your presence that troubles you.
My heart nearly broke when I read your words. "What kind of God would allow such suffering?" How could it be that you've walked with me so long, spent so much time in my company, and still doubt what kind of God I am? Have I not shown myself to be loving? Have I withheld from you any eternally good thing? Have I ever abandoned you, even at your very lowest?
Beloved, I am not here to guilt you into trusting me. I cannot coerce you to have faith. I can only reassure you of what is true. It is up to you to believe it.
The truth is this: there is a purpose in your pain. You are not an afflicted one for nothing. You have been divinely chosen. This life is my plan designed for you and you only.
I cannot reveal the whole plan to you just yet but I can reveal to you the mission: It is to make you more like Jesus. That is the purpose of all of this. From the pain in your back to the loss of vision in your eyes to the emotional breakdowns and breakthroughs. The pain is all pointing in one direction: unification with Jesus.
Oh, I know what you're thinking. You don't feel united with Him while you are cursing your illness and crying out in agony. I know, I hear your words and they are not songs of praise. They are songs of the Psalms and laments of pain. But, take heart, dear Child because even the Psalmist finishes on a high note of praise to the Lord.
If ever you doubt that the pain you are feeling has a reason beyond the here and now, look to Jesus. He is my gift to you. He has saved you into this earthly affliction to deliver you from eternal affliction. He suffered and knew the most brutal pain but that wasn't the end of Jesus' story. He is here with me now, seated in perfection, free of even the tiniest ache and pain. He fulfilled His mission. His thorny crown of suffering was transformed into a radiant crown of glory.
Beloved, you have not received your final crown yet. Yours still has thorns but they are thorns for a purpose, part of a grander plan to be made more like Jesus.
So, to answer your question, that is the kind of God I am. The one and only God who saved you. The God who sees your flaws, your sins and your transgressions and loves you anyways. Your Father God who loves you enough to redeem you and spend every minute of every hour with you. I am the God who designed you as a one of a kind, with a plan for your life that is unlike any other. God, the only one who will never abandon you. I am your God who is readying you for eternity and polishing up your crown.
Dear Afflicted, I see more than just your every moment of suffering. I see the entire plan from start to finish and the eternal purpose that will bear fruit forever. I promise that if you trust me and put all of your faith in me, one day you, too, will share this view with me in glory.

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