Rise Up, My Love (136): Beauty from Suffering

Flowers in rainThis post is especially dedicated to all women who are feeling pain this Mother’s Day. It’s raining outside my window this morning, but regardless of what’s going on in the outside of your world, I hope you find some sunshine in your spirit!Tulips in rain  6Song of Solomon 5:1 “I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk:”Tulips in rain  2Notice that our Lord has already been at work in the garden gathering myrrh: “I have gathered my myrrh with my spice…” Myrrh was not edible; it was bitter. Myrrh would not have been gathered to eat, but rather as a fragrant adornment for the feasting table. Are you one who understands the beauty of a rose? Do you stop to gather sweetly scented flowers from your garden to brighten up your dining table? Or, are you one who thinks flowers are a waste of time? Consider our Lord, who took time to gather myrrh, and meditate on the mystery of suffering.Tulips in rain  5How striking, yet comforting, that the first thing the bridegroom gleans is suffering. It is as if he is saying to us: “I know the suffering you have endured to become fruitful for me. I acknowledge that and gather it up as a bundle…as an offering well pleasing and acceptable unto God…an aromatic bouquet to beautify our banqueting table. Do not fear that all your suffering was for naught. By some mystery, it will become that which brings joy and pleasure to all who behold you.”Tulips in rain 1It is Christ’s answer to the psalmist’s prayer, (and the prayer of all who suffer): “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle” Psalm 56:8. Gather up my suffering…my tears, and keep them as precious. And, our Lord responds, “I have gathered up your sufferings. Your sufferings have been my sufferings. Your sufferings are my myrrh, and I have been there all along, suffering for you, suffering with you, and gathering up every fragrant teardrop that distills from your eyes…every tender stem that has borne flowers. I will make a bundle of myrrh to treasure and display, so that all who feast with me will marvel at the exquisite beauty it has produced in you.Tulips in rain  3When I consider this mystery, the radiant face of Pastor Lamb comes to my mind. While in China 20 years ago, I had the privilege of hearing this saintly man speak on persecution and suffering. He was imprisoned by the communists for more than twenty years for preaching the gospel. He was sent to work down in the coal mines of Siberia and never thought he would come out alive. His only prayer was that he would never deny Christ. God answered that prayer, and over twenty years later, God also oversaw Samuel Lamb’s release. Tulips in rain  7Although his life has been one of intense suffering, Pastor Lamb glows with a radiance and courage that is unmatched by anyone else I’ve ever personally known. His experience has made him strong. He does not fear persecution; he preaches that persecution is an inevitable part of the godly Christian’s life, and that we must not be afraid—we must be prepared! He personally keeps a suitcase packed at all times, so that if the PSB (Public Security Bureau…Chinese police) arrest him again, he will have the essentials he needs for survival in prison. And, with good cause! Just days after we visited him, the police again raided his little church and took all their hymnbooks and Bibles. (Fortunately, they did not arrest him that time.) Pastor Lamb warned us that persecution will inevitably come to the western world, and that we should be carefully hiding God’s Word away in our hearts and living with an understanding of the brevity of time and the importance of preaching the gospel.Tulips in rain  4Persecution—and all types of suffering—extract the dross out of our lives and allow the radiance of Christ to shine. “I have gathered my myrrh (our suffering which is for Him and is His).” He has known, understood, and cared all along.

 

4 responses to “Rise Up, My Love (136): Beauty from Suffering

  1. Adam and Eve came into a world of ease and perfection, even walking with God, and died from apathy, from choices of those who turn from God because the dependence on God is not felt.
    Jesus came into a world of suffering, and flourished in His Father, and learned obedience from suffering; and He calls us to suffer with Him.
    Blessed suffering!!

  2. Charylene Powers

    Wonderful post – I especially liked your encounter with Pastor Lamb. Pastor Lamb,s advice ” we must not be afraid, we must be prepared” is so good for all of us to ponder – we must be prepared with the Word of God in our hearts and minds so the light of Christ will shine through us where ever we find our journey takes us.

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