Well, my third cup of coffee has disappeared, and I have really done enough of my Bible study for the day, and the morning is nearly gone. I think that I have no excuse to keep sitting here, and should get busy and clean my house. But. My brain is racing with how amazing God is. Last week my BSF lesson didn’t grip me. I read through it, answered the questions, and thought, “meh. I knew all that.” When I thought about suffering, I mostly just felt a little bit guilty. After all, God’s people should expect to endure suffering in order to share with Christ, and I just don’t suffer. My life is pretty much perfect. I have lots of blessings and few trials. It made me wonder if I were missing out on what I am really supposed to be doing.
Then I went yesterday and listened to the lecture, and three different points made by the speaker jumped out and nailed me to the wall.
- If you aren’t personally suffering, realize that God is calling you to come alongside someone who is.
- Sometimes God does not want us to understand. Eve stumbled because of her desire for knowledge that God had not intended for her! I need to focus on what I do know, and trust Him for what I don’t.
- A knife is useful when it is sharp, but use will dull it. The only way for it to stay useful is to be sharpened—nicks must be shaved off, the edge must be ground down…over and over. In order for me to be sharpened, there must be constantly less and less of me!
Those things don’t seem to be related, exactly, but they all affected me strongly. My guilt over not having any recent suffering was eased as I realized that suffering along with others could be a glory to God. My innate desire to know and understand everything can be a stumbling block, and I need to pray for more acceptance and trust. And less of me…well, obviously I want to be refined and honed, and that is a lovely way to look at it!
This morning I began to read the notes for the lesson and realized that this week is making up for my blah reaction to last week. I highlighted so many things that the page began to look ridiculously cluttered. I snapped a picture, and a friend suggested laughingly that maybe I should highlight the parts that I didn’t like so well!
It wasn’t until I sat there reading, underlining, meditating, and doodling for about an hour that I realized something. This morning I woke up with quite a bit of pain. I was sitting there with a warm rice pack on my neck, stretching out the kinks, and massaging my temples as I read about suffering. It occurred to me that this was suffering, too. The physical aches and difficulties of aging are a very small bit of suffering compared to the trials some people face, but they are a constant reminder that life on this earth is winding down, that little by little, my body is decaying.
Maybe this is part of the sharpening of the knife. As my physical vigor is whittled away, perhaps it is perfecting a new edge in my spirit. Am I allowing Abba to grind away the nicks and burrs of my imperfect self and expose the next level of usefulness in me?