Thursday, December 3, 2009

WISH WE HAD MORE TRIALS

Life has become one trial after another lately, and it was only today that I was able to finally give up and surrender my all to Him. Trials require death... to self. The flesh is always screaming out it's indignation at what it has to suffer and mine has been screaming pretty loudly (and it says it doesn't want more trials!)... but thanks be to God Who is giving me the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ. The way forward is now clear... HE is the Way... the Truth and the Life. And this suffering will produce a transcendently transcendent eonian burden of glory.

I read this good article online tonight and thought I'd share it here:

Suffering for Christ’s sake must be a great gift, or else God wouldn’t grant us the gracious privilege. I’m referring to Philippians 2:29: "For to you it is graciously granted, for Christ’s sake, not only to be believing on Him, but to be suffering for His sake also."

Believing is graciously granted, we all concede. But what of this other? To be suffering for His sake. Yes. This, too, is graciously granted. What? You mean it’s not a sign of divine indignation? Not a cosmic accident? Not a bad day? No. Rather, it’s grace. If we’re suffering for Him, it means that we’re doing something right; He’s doing us a favor. It means that He has chosen us in grace for a high privilege. What privilege? To enjoy an even higher reward of glory.

"(We are) joint enjoyers of Christ’s allotment, if so be that we are suffering together, that we should be glorified together also" (Rom. 8:17).

This life isn’t all there is. If there were no resurrection, we would be the laughingstock of all people. But since there is a resurrection, we are the laughingstock of all people.

"For the momentary lightness of our affliction is producing for us a transcendently transcendent eonian burden of glory..." (2 Cor. 4:17).

"Transcendent" isn’t a mystical word. In the Greek it means, "over-cast." This is not a meteorological term, but means, "cast up over all else." It’s something incredibly high, higher than the highest thing. The apostle wants to emphasize this, so he calls the glory "transcendently transcendent." This sounds like ridiculous redundancy, and it is. Paul had nothing in his language to describe it, so he does the best he can with what he has. When he runs out of words, he simply repeats the best one he has.

Note that our afflictions are what produce the burden of eonian glory. (Note: "eonian" is a transliteration of the Greek aionion. It means, "having to do with eons." Our glory will last forever—everyone knows that—but how wonderful to know that it pulsates as well through the following two glorious eons. Not everyone enjoys the privilege of eonian glory. Billions of people will be dead during the two glorious eons ahead. We enjoy eonian glory because Christ favors us.) There is still glory without heavy suffering. That is, we don’t need to bear heavy crosses here to enjoy resurrection life there. Salvation is free. But we won’t know the transcendent depths of glory unless we suffer for His sake. Often, this includes crosses.

Someone is elbowing into the text, saying: "Average glory is good enough for me. Keep the cross out of my life." I understand that. I can relate to that. I don’t like crosses, either. If this is how you feel, then a crossless life is perfect for you. Live your life and worship God however you can.

Others want to taste everything. They want to taste glory to the dregs, and our Lord Jesus Christ knows who they are. To accommodate them, He graciously grants that they should taste suffering to the dregs as well. This suffering has to be graciously granted, because no one can start up a suffering program to win glory. Men and women can’t whip themselves, starve themselves or seclude themselves into glory. Our sufferings, in order to count, must be graciously granted by God; God is up to the task. So just keep living, try to have a good time without breaking the law, and leave the "graciously granted" part to Him. What I’m telling you is: don’t become the author of your own trials. He thinks up good enough ones without you helping Him.

Note that the trials are called "light," while the glory is a "burden." Paul had a healthy perspective here. We often suppose that these trials are weighty and that the glory could never eclipse the pain. This is so wrong.

Our bodies need to be changed. Why? Because we can’t carry so much glory in these frames. Without new bodies, we couldn’t bear the glory ahead. It would be like asking a light bulb filament to channel a nuclear explosion.

Comparatively, then, our present burdens are light. This is hard to understand now, in the heat of battle. But one day soon, when you feel the glory, you are going to thank God for every tear. You are going to thank God for every minute of every trial you were ever called upon to endure. And then you’re going to say, "Oh, God. So this is why I had to go through that."

And then you’re going to wish you had gone through more. For real.

Martin Zender

1 comment:

  1. That was such a good word Cheza. Thanks so very much!

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