September 27, 2014

Our best friend might be ugly.

Rebellion: he wears a million different masks. He digs in his bag for the perfect disguise, the one that will draw the most approval, the most ardent support, the most sympathetic comradery. With the right mask, a perfect lie, he will no longer be Rebellion. He will become Justice, Common Sense, even Love.

Rebellion, also known as Witchcraft, seeks to do his own will by his own power. Sometimes that will is good; perhaps helping others. His own power seems to be good too; he may tap into his power of hard work and innovation. Wonderful! What’s wrong with that? Why give such an ugly name to such noble deeds?

Not the deeds! The Motives!

What is really behind what we do? Whose will is being accomplished? Who will get the glory? Christians are followers of Christ. We don’t live for our own will but for the will of the Father, as Jesus Christ taught us, as Jesus Christ lived.

“For whosoever shall save his life shall lose it…” “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…” “For me, to live is Christ…”

Rebellion has been a constant friend and companion in my life. I have loved him, pampered him and cheerfully welcomed him into my life. He has, however, kept me from the Lover of my soul, often blocking my way to the Father as he pointed out the dreadful consequences of yielding to God when it didn’t make sense or might bring pain. Hand in hand we would walk, Rebellion offering his constant fellowship and faithful comfort when I needed it most.

Yet his companionship left me sad and empty, even sick in my body. Instead of love, I had hate. Instead of joy, I had anger. No peace, no patience, no gentleness. In fact, he left me with no fruit of the Spirit, but rather, his own fruit: impatience, irritation, pride – rotten fruit that brought disease.
My Father, always desiring my peace, always offering Amazing Grace, sent his most faithful servant to uncover Rebellion, to get that tricky scoundrel out of my life. He sent Suffering.

My thoughts toward Suffering have changed over the years. Today I can tell you, though he is ugly, he is no longer scary, he is strong and kind. He has protected me from much evil. He has brought me through dark and impossible battles, giving me the victory though he did all the work. I have grown to love him. I don’t seek him, I don’t look for him or ask for his presence, but I know he will come when he is needed.

I remember the days when I would slam the door in his face. Calling on every friend, doctor, philosopher, pastor, I would seek any means possible to remove him from my life. I would often go to God Himself to argue against Suffering. Rebellion, so close to me we were one person, would raise his fist in the air and say, “You call this abundant life?!” Answering gently, never addressing Rebellion, only my own soul, God would ask me “Tell me, Daughter of Mine, whose life are you living?”

With that simple question, the freedom to choose, my arguments against God’s will would be silenced for a moment. Standing before me was Rebellion, his slick smile reminding me that he offered any path I desired. Oh the places we could go!

On the other hand, there stood Suffering. He offered no promises, no smile, only one path: a narrow way that looked hard to find, hard to travel. Rebellion came with me and Suffering was sent by God. Why would God -- my Father, the Husband of my soul -- send such a stern and ugly friend to me?

Freedom. I would decide. I could choose.

One fateful day I chose Suffering. It shocked me that immediately my old friend Rebellion fell down as dead. Lying next to his body were several masks. How? How did I not see that his name was Rebellion? How was I deceived to think he was Love and Justice?

Rebellion did not die; however, he was merely uncovered. Ever faithful and with his unlimited supply of masks he has never left my side. But Suffering is also faithful.

Suffering prevents me from doing my own will by my own power. Suffering conquers Rebellion every time I go with him. When I do go with that stern friend, I find the narrow path we walk to be full of fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. It is fruit for me and for others, fruit for an abundant life.

Naturally, Suffering is not the only friend God sends His children, but he is one of the best. The next time he knocks on your door, rejoice. He has victories to shower upon you and heavenly things to reveal.

1 Peter 4:1-2 "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."

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  1. Thank you for posting this. You are a beautiful writer. Praise God for sending us suffering so that we may be refined! As I was reading it makes me want to paint a mural or painting....maybe one day I will.

    1. Thank you, Alivia. I love it when one person's expression of a truth encourages another type of expression of the same truth. Our God is so multifaceted and He has created us with our own gifts to build one another up. I hope you do some painting soon...I love to paint and would be so happy to see your creations!

  2. So true Laura, I'm always humbled by your posts.

    1. Thank you, Susan. So good to have like-minded friends...even if we never meet face to face. God bless you.


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