Thursday, December 5, 2013

Do Not Lose Heart -

It all started with this video shared on Abby Smith's FB page where they keep everyone updated on how she is, while she fights her terminal cancer. They mentioned this is on her playlist, so I watched the video. I cried through the whole thing. Then I watched it again, and cried again. I've since played it about 25 times in just a few days, and been encouraged and moved every time. I've bought the song on iTunes, and went even further and downloaded the sermon by John Piper and listened to that (and cried through that as well).

I thought it amazing and such a gift from my Heavenly Father that it was just exactly what I needed after such a hard asking for prayer that I wrote recently. Because I wrote that through so many tears, and suddenly, here was a song and a sermon to ground me and remind me that in the ugly, He is here. In the hurt, He is God. In the pain, He is able. In it all, He is the beautiful Giver, the Healer, the Father...He leads us in suffering for our good and His glory.

We don't like to think about being slayed or wounded or ruined or hurt or brought low. And least of all that it could be for our good. We love to think of how God will bless us richly and lead us in triumph. What we miss the mark on is whose triumph it will turn out to be. If we are aiming for our own triumph, we are missing the mark by such a long shot, but if we are aiming for His glory to be evident in our suffering, our perspective changes. It is truth that we will be wounded, we will be hurt, we will be brought low, we will suffer. The most precious promise is that it is the Lord that is leading us purposefully and in love through it, whatever it will be. And I needed to be reminded of that so, so much.

So here, listen to the song (it has John Piper's voice in it) and then read part of the sermon below.

"Though You Slay Me" by Shane & Shane.  {Produced by Desiring God}


Are you crying with me? :) I'll bet you are, if you've been through some suffering or sadness recently.

I encourage you to listen to the whole sermon on Desiring God, or download it as well, but I wanted to really share the part that just made my heart heal in all the right places, the places that have ached so much recently in light of hard cancer news of friends and other sorrows.

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"Do Not Lose Heart" by John Piper - Legacy Conference 2013 
2nd Corinthians 4:16-18 *read in John Piper's voice or follow along! (10 minute mark to the end)*

"(16)Therefore we do not lose heart. 
Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 
(17)For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, (18)while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. 
For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 
~ 2nd Corinthians 4:16-18 ~

"So he (Paul) could see beyond the grave, according to promise ... GLORY. The glory that would be SEEN and the glory of God that would be given to him, and it makes his lifelong suffering look momentary, and it made the weight of the pain look light....

You are kidding me, you are going to die for Jesus, and you call that light? - Yes.
Why?!  - Because I look to the unseen.
 Why?! - GLORY.

Glory beyond the grave that is so going to make up for this brief life it will look momentary
 and it will look light. That is the unseen that you've got to look at!

One more thing. And this, I end with this, because it is so, so relevant for so many suffering people, and so precious to me. This word, in verse 17 - "preparing". Not only is all your affliction momentary, not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity, and the glory there,
but all of this is totally meaningful.

Now that is a very controversial statement. Because of how much insane suffering there is in the world. Every time something horrific happens, an interviewer will say "Meaningless!"! That is what it looks like. SEE! Look at it! This is meaningless! These 23 kids in India, what did they do? They ate lunch, and they're dead! Or Moore, OK, or Boston! .....

This text says, "Our light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight.". It doesn't say "will be followed by an eternal weight of glory", that would be good enough! That would be good enough. But that's not what it says. The word means "produce, prepare, cause to bring about".

I'll venture this: "Every millisecond of your pain from the fallen nature or the fallen man, every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that!"!

I don't care if it was Cancer or criticism. I don't care if it was slander or sickness. It wasn't meaningless! 

Because verse 17 says "My light, momentary, lifelong, total affliction is doing something." It's DOING something! It's not meaningless, 'course you can't see what it's doing! This is the main unseen thing verse 18 is talking about. What's the unseen you are supposed to look at? You are supposed to look at the promise of God in verse 17 that says "Your pain is doing something for you!". You can't see it, you can't feel it, either you see it with the eyes of faith, believe it because the text says it, or you lose heart....

I believe the main "because" for not losing heart, in this text, is that none of your suffering is meaningless. It'll feel that way! That's why verse 18 says "Don't look at what is seen!" Don't look to what is seen.

When your Mom dies, when your kid dies, when you got cancer at 40,
when a car careens into the sidewalk and takes her out, don't say "It's meaningless!".

It's not.

It's working for you an eternal weight of glory. Therefore. Therefore, do not lose heart, but take these truths and day by day, focus on them. Preach them to yourself, every morning. Get alone with God and preach His Word into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for."

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I hope you are as encouraged and grounded and moved by the Almighty's love for you,
no matter the suffering you are going through. We do not need to be strong, He is strong for us. He is with us, Emmanuel.

With much love always,
~ Jean Marie ~

1 comment:

carreena said...

i have been stalking your blog for some time now...i don't remember now where i ran across it first, but there was a realness to your writing that resonated with me deeply. i wanted to say that this post in particular was so encouraging to me. i'm sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks and my heart feeling like it's been stripped raw, and fearful of pressing the 'play' button on 'though You slay me' lest it bring that pain to the surface again. and yet...oh and yet. i need to hear that God will be glorified in this. that one day, by the blood of His Son, i will get to share in that glory. that by the blood of His Son, it is His infinite love that inflicts the very pain that i feel right now.

i guess i don't really know why i'm saying this because you sound like you know it already, but i thought it might be nice to know that somewhere out there, there is another girl who has been so encouraged by the grace of God that is evident in your words...yes, and in your struggles, too.

in Christ,
carreen