Our Perfect Example of Love, Compassion, and Kindness
Look around you. What do you see? I see opportunities everywhere. In all the chaos and uncertainty in our country and around the world, I see nothing but opportunity. I see the opportunity to share the love of Jesus to a hurting world! Can we hold on to and focus upon love, compassion, and kindness in the midst of the storm, in the middle of the battle, while being attacked from inside and out? I hope so because more "love" and "compassion" is what the world needs more than ever!
I have the hope of Jesus in my heart, and my heart is FULL. Real FULL!
My heart is full because I've struggled. Like you, when I struggle, I turn to God. For the last year, we've all struggled to some extent. But this time it was different. Struggle mixed with uncertainty. What can I trust?
This is the third article in a 10 article series as we take a deeper dive into the topic of suffering. Specifically, "Suffering" and why it must be this way.
This past year we've all had to endure, and for some of us, it's been one major hit after another. I believe God has a plan.
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." Galatians 2:20
Regardless of what I see in the world, I am convinced that my best years have yet to come. I am committed to following Jesus, and regardless of what I see and experience, I choose to be a vessel of God's love, broken and poured out for others. How bout you?
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
Serving others is easier said than done! Being "the love of God" to a hurting world is tough.
And Jesus declares, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
Heck! Let's admit it, 2020 was tough, unusually tough. For me, 2019 was tough too! I got a double-whammy, two touch years in a row! Subsequently, I prayed more over the last two years than ever before and the outcome has been priceless. I've never spent more time in the Word. My life was pruned and crushed, but my heart healed and I can't help but rejoice!
And the Apostle Peter taught, "but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation." 1 Peter 4:13
I didn't know it was possible to grow as close to God as I have. It's been remarkable, and without the difficulties, setbacks, delays, and disappointments, I don't think my growth would have happened. Not to this degree.
For me, the term "suffer" and/or "suffering" accurately describes much of my life in 2019 and 2020. Suffering came and stayed, but this time I responded differently. God used my suffering to promote my growth. Consequently, today I see things differently.
Surprised by Suffering
I am no stranger to "suffering," and like everyone else, I have had my seasons of suffering. But this time I didn't see it coming. Not like this.
It seemed as though I was ill-prepared for the suffering in 2020, but was I? Hmmm...
In hindsight, I've learned that I was much more prepared than I thought. I was being prepared by God and didn't know it. God is always at work and I am never alone, and there is always a Kingdom purpose.
"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason, also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:5-11
If the truth is to be told, 2019 and 2020 have been my best years by far! In the suffering, I experienced growth, exponential growth! In the suffering, I discovered the deep love of God. And, in and through the suffering I have finally allowed God to become my Father.
Being Pruned and Prepared for a Bountiful Harvest
I let go of a lot of things in 2020, and even though it was painful and I suffered, it was good - real good!
Suffering is a part of life and it is inescapable. We all suffer. But this time the suffering had a purpose and the pain and loss were redeemed. Nothing has been wasted and God has redeemed all my tears.
In my suffering throughout 2020, I experienced the supernatural love of God. And now, consequently, I am uniquely prepared to love others, to love those who are suffering, to love those seeking relief.
"For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." John 3:17
Jesus, fully God and fully man, was born to this world at a specific time for a specific purpose. Jesus was sent. And, keep in mind, you and I were "sent" too.
"As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world." John 17:18
As God, Jesus emptied Himself out and humbled himself to become the representative Man, upon Whose shoulders God rested the future of humanity. In other words, Jesus was and is the salvation of the human race, AND as the representative, Jesus is looking for us to fulfill and complete His mission.
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