We continue Monday’s post with the third feature of ministry life that creates a unique environment in which we work out “Our Sorrow.”
3- A potential bitterness battle.
Jeana Floyd, a dear friend and my pastor’s wife for a season, put Beth Moore’s thoughts in my hands some years ago. Thoughts that articulated a deep, struggle I encountered in widowhood. In her book Voices of the Faithful Beth identifies a susceptibility to bitterness of those who have deeply surrendered lives to God when we sustain hurt. She suggests “that the deeper emotional exposure to God, the deeper the wound can plunge when a servants sustains a hurt. The more we expose our hearts, minds and lives to God, the deeper the offense can hurt when we when we get our feelings hurt at him.”
These words leapt off the page to me–God HAD hurt my feelings!
Ministry types, we are NOT super-Christians—we are NOT the only believers who live lives of deep trust. Yet we are not just the “I’ll-give-you an-hour-on-Sunday-when-I-feel-like-it” kind of believers. Prayerfully our lives have demonstrated a deep trust in Him alongside corresponding obedience. Even though we KNOW with our heads that God never promised us a “teflon” coating from pain—when our lives are invaded our hearts may FEEL betrayed.
We have trusted HIM…we have trusted Him in deep ways. Beth says: ”When He brings adversity in our lives especially, life altering adversity, our trust in Him may seem violated.”
At this very point a root is just waiting to grow.
“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:15
“Satan would love to convince us after all we have done for God that He has been unfaithful to us.” Satan is very quick to arrive on the scene of our adversity to begin to plant a root of bitterness. Because of the visible nature of our lives if he can slide-line us, embitter us or stymie our healing many can be poisoned. No one wants us to MISS the grace of God more than he does. Remember his ringside seat at Job’s sorrow? He is NOT cheering FOR us either.
Even Satan knows the power of the grace of God. These were words he was trying to thwart “Though He slay me yet will I trust Him” Job 13:15
Grace is when God gives us the strength to do something we do not have the strength to do on our own. So clearly seen at our salvation but it is true of our entire Christian journey. The weaker we are the more clear His strength. We need grace for our sorrow. It’s in HIS strength that we will battle the root of bitterness because few of us will have that strength on our own.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 RSV
“That is the secret of strength: not outward impressiveness; not great prestige, pomp and favor; not great ornate buildings decorated to the highest degree, enclosing impressive statuary and wonderful paintings. Oh, no. Spiritual power never lies there. Neither does it lie in a brilliant, impressive personality, nor in ability to speak with eloquent oratory, with command and mastery of language. No, it never lies there. It lies in a heart that realizes that it can do nothing apart from a dependence on a living Lord within. The weaker you are, the stronger Christ can be.” Ray Stedman
Sisters, Don’t miss it.
Published November 20, 2013