Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Success in Suffering

It takes some strong weather and the maturing of your vine to realize that you can be in a windstorm and still prosper.

Joseph was thrown into prison for doing things God's way. Yet, "the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor.... and gave him success in whatever he did." (See Genesis 39:21-23.) The scriptures don't tell if Joseph stayed awake, tormented by the false accusations that put him in prison. Neither do they describe him as sullen or bitter. Instead, he seems to have discovered that, in this place of shame and constriction, God was with him and would somehow bring good (Genesis 50:20).

In the midst of difficulty, is this not success: submitting to God's presence, listening for God's insights, applying all that the Lord reveals  -- and in the strength which He mightily supplies? When we have a clear conscience and remember that God is with us, then the severe pruning of the vine is nothing to fear. We know it will eventually cause larger, more luscious fruit to develop. (See John chapter 15.)

Recently, my mother shared with me that, as she faces the ravaging storm of cancer, she feels as if she is in the eye of the storm. Everything around her is in turmoil, but she is at peace in the center. Because, like Joseph, God is with her.

While we might grapple with the whys, moving to the whats and experiencing God's transforming presence is ultimately what brings success in our prisons. There we experience uncommon peace, one of suffering's gifts. That's success!


Might God be using discomfort in your life to strengthen you for greater things?

What do you need to address with God so you can move to the center and His peace?


colter7 said...

Thank you for continually reminding of the beautiful ripened fruit. What a joy it is to know that He sees me worthy; that he can prune, guide, and help me flourish. I identify with Jacob...the wrestling..and I suspect reluctant, but overwhelming relief of who is the true tiller and farmer. God Bless you Paula.

Paula said...

Yes. Yes. Yes. Bless you too. Our Lord doesn't let go! Praise be to God!