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My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees. – Psalm 119:71 (NLT)
What an honor it is to suffer for Christ. First of all, that He would care enough about us to give us instruction about how to live life to the fullest, and second that He would allow us to suffer so that we would learn to rely more on Him therefore gaining a closer relationship with Him! That was quite a sentence, let me unpack it. God, the ruler of the universe who has the power to create and destroy anything with one breath desires for us to enjoy living and desires for us to experience full joy in Him. That. Blows. My. Mind. He doesn’t need us, He doesn’t rely on us – He wants us. The sole purpose for our existence is to enjoy relationship with Him. He can do all the cool things that He has planned without our help but He wants us to experience the joy that comes from being involved, from ‘paying attention to His decrees’. Sometimes we need a wake up call, and often this comes in the form of suffering. Something happens when God allows us to suffer that makes us desperate for Him, for His help. When we’re going through a difficult time in our lives, some of us tend to pray more often and more fervently. We become desperate for a touch from God, for an answer, for a miracle, for provision, for peace – and so we focus more on Him. I know that’s how I was for a long, long time. I only acknowledged God when I needed Him. I only prayed when I had something to ask for. This is so wrong. My suffering was good for me, as the psalmist says, because it made me sit up and pay attention to God. The key here is to not let that communication with God fade as prayers are answered, and as things become comfortable again. This is a conscious choice – when everything is going well, we have to choose to continue praying, to continue studying the word, to continue seeking after Him and out of that comes a joy that is indescribable.