Suffering- a Banner Worth Waving

(I’m gonna steal from some other blogs today)

the Lamb

a banner worth waving!

The other day, my dear friend Hadassa posted a great little post with questions and thoughts about why God does, or rather, allows some of the tougher and seemingly, more brutal things that He does.

The post was heavy, and definitely worth thinking about and chewing on for a while. If you haven’t read it, and you should.

In her post, she sites excerpts from Amy Charmichael’s journal. Amy had basically begged God not to let her be a burden on her staff. She wanted them to be able to care for the children there in the orphanage, and not be tied down taking care of her.

The thing is, God allowed the very opposite to happen. Amy spent her last years being just that. She was bed-ridden and needed care by others.

Why?

Well, I’m going to try to give a big picture, and I’m hoping that it gives you hope and grace to push through the fires that come your way as a disciple, and maybe see things the way that God does.

____

First, let’s take a look at Job. Granted, there’s a whole lot of mystery around the origin and history of this book. It’s reportedly the oldest book in the cannon that we have now as protestants, but it’s in there for a reason. It’s a great source of encouragement and really shows the bigness of the Father.

Job was God’s and God knew it. Satan wanted to bring Job down. If he can bring down a man like Job, then he can take quite a few with him.

Satan appealed for Job, to test him and break him. God allowed it, knowing that His dear servant would not waver.

We know the story… on the other side of death, tragedy and horrid circumstances was life, a springtime for Job.

God turned what Satan intended for destruction into glory.

___

I believe that our dear Amy was the same way. She asked God, with noble intentions, not to let her be a burden on those doing His good work. She did not want to be in the way. She begged God not to let it happen.

I also believe that God knew, that even if Satan and all his minions attacked her, that she would cling to Him all the more. And that’s exactly what happened.

She was in bed for 20 years. Imagine this, 20 years of the very thing that you begged the Father not to let happen to you. Satan seems to have thrown at her everything he had. And what did he accomplish. He made fertile ground for her to get close the God of creation and produce some of the most inspiring and convicting writings the Church has ever seen.

God turned the thing that simply SHOULD NOT BE on it’s head. He made a laughing stock out of Satan’s plans.

___

Isn’t that the cross? The subversive and beautiful undoing of all the wrong? Everything messed up becoming redeemed and called back to the Father?

This excites me a lot!

The seasons show us the same. Winter comes in all of it’s harshness and destroys everything. Then come the rains at the end, storm clouds and thunder shutting out the light. Now and then you’ll get a glimpse of Spring. But then… It happens. Life comes from the cold and death of winter.

Again, this is our Lord’s way. He takes the things that should not be, and turns them into life. He is the suffering servant.

In fact, when you look at the life of our Lord, you won’t typically find Him in the happy cheery places of society and life, but in places of turmoil and strife, sickness and despair. He came for the sick.

We should not be surprised that His best work in us is done in the places of suffering. If we really want to find Him, and really be near Him, we should run to that suffering that we cringe from, embrace it and find fellowship with him there. Us despising the hard times, and the things we run from often is a matter of us not knowing what our Christ looks like.

There’s a song by one of my favorite bands called ‘Banner- Wave High For the Lowly’ that sums this whole thought up quite well…I don’t recommend all of their songs, but I absolutely love this one.

http://www.psalters.com/Downloads/Banner.mp3

(intro in Farsi saying that “God you are my Beloved and no matter what happens i want nothing more than to stand next to You”)
broken bodies lie soaking ashen ground
empires within and out crushing the refugees
no one is left to fight for them but you and me
and the One we say we love is with them bleeding red that ground

the armies of evil we made are now surrounding
and so we run to hide ourselves and leave the bleeding
saving ourselves we leave the Saviour of refugees
run back to Him run back to those struggling

Banner wave high for the lowly
wave the suffering Chi Rho
stand with your Love of long ago
run with Him to fight the shallows we all know

Banner You are all the lowly
and for those mourning you alone are Home we
stand with You as the armies crush Thee
run to You as Your Blood covers even these

Banner wave high for the lowly
wave the suffering Chi Rho
stand with your Love of long ago
run to those suffering if you Love Him then worship Him there that is where He is found….
He’s the Home….for refugees

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