Encouragement

I want to share something that I’ve been studying and meditating on in the past few weeks and I hope it’s an encouragement to whoever reads it.

I started really diving in to Hebrews in December. And I got a little stuck in chapter 5:8-10:

Although he (Jesus) was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

My thoughts about Jesus for my whole life have been in regards to his perfection so this threw me off a bit. The Bible talks a lot about his sinless nature. But equating being sinless with being perfect is maybe something that I haven’t had a grasp on. This passage indicates that he had to learn. That he learned through the things he suffered. But he was also made perfect through those sufferings and only then could he be the source of eternal salvation. My point is that Jesus as a baby wasn’t ready to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins not just because of his age but because he hadn’t become what he needed to be in order to be our salvation.

I realize that I’m teetering (barging?) into theologians territory. I’m not Paul, I don’t read Karl Barth. I’m just a girl that wants to understand what in the world Paul (if Paul did, in fact, write Hebrews. It would be more correct to say the writer) means and a way to apply it to my life. Then I’m going to cook dinner.

When I write I try to keep it personal. As in, “I do this or I was convicted about that”. I’m not trying to drag anybody down with me. If someone draws their own parallel or thinks, “hey, I do that too”, then that’s fine but I do my best to not tell you my faults and then add “but don’t we all do that”. Because it’s entirely possible that you never do what I do. Today though I’m going to make this much less about me and much more about you because most people need encouragement.

Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered and by that suffering and subsequent obedience, he was made perfect for his mission on this planet which resulted in our being able to be saved. I think that’s the nuts and bolts of it.

How does that apply to you? And I promise, I say this with all humility and love…the things you are now suffering and the obedience that you learn will make you perfect for your mission on this planet.

A professor in college once asked our class of future ministers of music, “What do you do in the down time? The time between God telling you what to do and the actual fulfillment of that”. We were young, early twenties at best and tried to come up with great answers. But the truth is we hadn’t lived it yet. We hadn’t walked it out. I’m pretty sure none of us said that we’d spend that time dying to ourselves. Or that we’d be discouraged and hurt and at times doubtful and fearful. Nobody said that we’d be betrayed by people or feel betrayed by God. Nobody said that they’d be lied to or mistreated or any of the other things that happen to real humans.

But those are the things that refine us. We suffer as He suffered. Anybody that tells you anything different is selling you a bill of goods.

I know this:
James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

It’s really difficult to rejoice over a trial when it feels like you have a knife in your heart or your back. When you’ve waited for years for a husband but your intended hasn’t shown up yet. Or he did show up and then abandoned you. Or you don’t know where the provision is that you have expected or been promised. Or the job. Or the ministry. Or life is just so difficult because of the choices that others have made that affect your life in ways that you couldn’t have anticipated. Dreams have died and you don’t know what in the world you’re supposed to do.

The only dreams that die are the ones that are supposed to. Sometimes they die and are resurrected. Your husband will come. The provision will be there. Relationships will be mended. When it’s time.

I can say all of that with certainty because every one of those things and more have happened to me. I don’t write from a lofty position of one who has never suffered. I’ve been abused, abandoned, mistreated, lied to, betrayed, unloved and felt the sting of not having enough and I can tell you that there is healing. There is enough. There is wholeness in a way that you could not have imagined. I can say with love and compassion that whatever God has put in your heart will come to pass…when it’s time.

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6 thoughts on “Encouragement

  1. Wonderful, thought provoking stuff. I have always hated the fact that our best learning comes from trials. I hate going through trials. I have tried to avoid them. I have tried learning everything I can, going through life examining the trials others go through so that I can avoid what they are going through and still learn the lesson. I’ve tried living sacrificially so that I don’t have to learn the lessons that lack teaches. I wanted to stay one step ahead of the trial…always acting on the sermon, the story, the experience I observe and applying as much as I can to how I live. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad way to live. I suppose I have avoided some things.

    So…now you’ve ruined it for me. I can’t go through life just being sinless…I have to grow. 🙂

    To be honest, trials do still come. Just as you said, there are circumstances we cannot control, the actions of others that effect us and calamities of man and nature that we are forced to deal with. What is really encouraging to me here is that these trials, are not just provision for a life without error, they are provision for a life that is being transformed. He is still working me into the shape he wants, using that chisel or that wheel to form me into what is most usable for the Kingdom. Preparing me for a job that I am the best candidate to perform.

  2. Amy, this was one of the best blogs you’ve ever written…I believe I mentioned the fact that Christians will/do suffer in one of your earlier blogs…Most of us don’t want to hear that…but it is true…It is just hard (and possibly that too, is part of the learning obedience) when people imply that if you just do everything “right” as a Christian, “bad” things will never happen to you…Or even when you mistakenly focus on all your failures…Christians all over the world suffer unspeakably because of their faith…and we (meaning most of us here in America) want an easier path…There is no easy path to becoming Christ-like…It’s called “dying to self”…

    I was just reminded this morning in my devotional that God speaks to us in 3 main ways: 1) Through others, 2) Through Scripture and 3) Through our heart’s desire…In regards to the latter, the writer says “God reveals His will to us by giving us a burning desire. What fuels and focuses you? Singles? The inner city? Untouched nations? Forgotten orphans? Whatever it is–heed the fire within you!” This, and you spoke to me today…

    • I was talking to a friend just last week about the thought that if you do everything “right” then you’re blessed but if things go wrong then you’ve done something wrong. I think it’s one of the most damaging misconceptions in the church in America. If you look at the fact that in the end, every disciple of Christ (excluding Judas and John) were martyred then, following that logic, we’d have to conclude that they were in some sort of error, right? There’s much more I could say but I’ll save it for another day.

      Thanks for your encouragement. I stressed over this post a lot. So much so that my brain is very tired today 🙂

  3. Yes and amen…and that’s one of the things I struggle with–telling it like it is…You almost always alienate someone when you do…but you did it in such a great way… 🙂

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