Went back to the carnival last night. Back! Did I not learn my lesson? Did I not read my last post? Am I asking myself questions? Have I lost it? Probably, but actually I did learn my lesson so I only rode one thing last night. We went back because we had a great evening with some great friends. We ate dinner and then decided to let our kids and their kids do the carnival together. However, this time, I sat out. We did have tickets for one ride left over and Max really wanted to do the bumper cars but had to have an adult. So I agreed. It was a blast. No queasiness. The bumper cars are still a go. Glad I'm not too old for those......yet.
So I've been meaning to post on this topic for a while. Not sure why I put it off. It's an important one and relates directly to our family's ordeal over the past 2 months. It's on the topic of Suffering and what God says about it.
I had never been through anything too bad. "Had" is a key word. But honestly, my life has been a pretty happy one I must say. If I think back to childhood and unhappy times, the list is pretty short. Here it is:
1. We got robbed once on vacation when I was about 5 years old. I remember my mom and sister crying. Our car had been broken into. But I was too young to really comprehend. I think they took my clothes and some of my favorite underroos, but I didn't feel like it was a big loss.
2. I was in a wreck one time when my grandfather was driving. It was a little scary because it was dark and I think rainy, but we weren't hurt and Wendys gave us free Frostys so again, not too bad to me. (side note - love Wendy's Frosty-Cino. Anyone else? So good.)
3. We ran over our cat on the way to a LU basketball game one time. That was sad. Even though the cat and I had never had a super close relationship, I hated to see it suffer.
4. I did have an incident when I was a senior in high school where 4 of my friends and I were mugged (long story) and up until a couple of months ago, that was the worst thing that had ever happened to me.
But none of those, or any other event in my life were unbearable or life-changing. They were hard at the time but nothing worse than anyone had ever suffered. I even remember thinking in the past how my life was very happy and blessed and how good God was to me. And I think I got very comfortable with that and got into the mindset that 'nothing really bad will happen to me. It only happens to other people.' I should have realized my time was coming. It comes for everyone.
John 16:33 says that we will have troubles in this life.
I Peter 4:13 reads 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
I also read a passage a few weeks ago that spoke loud and clear to me.
3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. -Romans 5:3-5
Look at the first part of that passage. We should "rejoice in our sufferings"? Really? (hence the title of this post). I mean I can read the rest of it and see that it produces endurance, character, and hope. All good things. I understand that we all have to suffer, but we should rejoice? I say again....Really?
The answer is absolutely. We should rejoice. I know - much easier said than done, but here's why we should. It means God is with us. It means he is testing us. The Bible does say we will be tested. (I Peter 1:7) I honestly believe that the reason we lost our son (among other reasons) was a test. It was a test of our faith. I had never really suffered and God wanted to see how I would handle it. I hope I'm handling it well. I feel like I'm doing the best I can. I hope I'm pleasing him in my suffering and throughout my test. I realize I'm supposed to rejoice. That has taken some time but I'm there now. I do rejoice that He tested me and I hopefully passed. I do rejoice that my sufferings mean that I'm following the right path. Do I wish the suffering could've been done another way? Of course! But that's for God to decide and I accept it.
One more verse - Php. 3:10 - 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.
I've heard some conflicting discussion on this passage and the song that accompanies it. Do we really want to share in his suffering or even participate? I do. If it's part of God's plan and it will lead me close to Heaven then bring it on. Not saying it's easy, but it's necessary and it's God's will. And his will is perfect. I won't question it.
So I rejoice that through my recent suffering, I have grown closer to God. I have a much deeper relationship with Him. I rejoice that He cares about me so much that he wants to test me and have me suffer just like He said He would; and that means He wants me in Heaven. He wants me to pass the test. He wants me to be like so many others that suffered for his name - Paul, Daniel, David, Peter, JESUS!
So remember this when you suffer, and you will. Most of you already have. It never ends.....until it ends forever. How I long for that great day!
I love Griffin and I love God.
Keep runnin'. The PRIZE awaits. (Php. 3:14)
My Weekend with the President (Kid President)
4 years ago