[This post continues the last one, How Darkness Defines the Light—and What About When There is No Light?]
After that talk, later in the day, I’m searching for a book—unaware my search has a reason related to the message I’ve heard and the questions that still haunt me.
Only God knows that. I just think I want this particular book because I’ve read it quoted on other blogs lately, and think it would make good devotional fare.
But the book is hiding, as light often is, and it takes effort, time, and teamwork from Husband to ferret it out of the “wrong spot” on the shelf.
I decide to start in on it now, and turn to its devos for the start of November, hoping the whole rest of the book isn’t prereq for their reading. And there, what do I read as skim November’s first entries, but… “PARTAKERS OF HIS SUFFERINGS” (!) After this title lies the rest of the answer still evading me… And it’s glorious, filled with… holy light! So, I share here with you a slightly edited version:
“PARTAKERS OF HIS SUFFERINGS”
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.
Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings. —1 Peter 4:13
If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you [meaning for your personal benefit] at all; they are meant to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what transpires in other souls so that you will never be surprised at what you come across.
Oh, I can’t deal with that person.
Why not? God gave you ample opportunity to soak before Him on that line, and you barged off because it seemed stupid to spend time in that way.
The sufferings of Christ are not those of ordinary men. He suffered “according to the will of God,” not from the point of view we suffer from as individuals. It is only when we are related to Jesus Christ that we can understand what God is after in His dealings with us. It is part of Christian culture to know what God’s aim is. In the history of the Christian Church the tendency has been to evade being identified with the sufferings of Jesus Christ; men have sought to procure the carrying out of God’s order by a short cut of their own. [But] God’s way is always the way of suffering, the way of the “long, long trail.”
Are we partakers of Christ’s sufferings? Are we prepared for God to stamp our personal ambitions right out? Are we prepared for God to destroy by transfiguration our individual determinations?
It will not mean that we know exactly why God is taking us that way. That would make us spiritual prigs. We never realize at the time what God is putting us through; we go through it more or less misunderstandingly; then we come to a luminous place, and say – ‘ ‘Why, God has girded me, though I did not know it!”