29 Sep I Know Your Afflictions…
This past weekend we were reminded that God speaks to us through our pain and through our suffering. It’s certainly not the most cheerful message; but it’s true. So how do we hear Jesus speaking in these moments? First, think about it this way:
All cameras these days have a zoom feature. If you zoom in enough, you get to see one tree. If you zoom out a little, you’ll see a lot of trees. If you zoom out a little more, you’ll notice you’re looking at a park. And, if you zoom out a little more, you’ll notice your park is in the middle of a giant city.
Whenever you are suffering or enduring pain, there is a tendency to zoom in such that the crushing is all that we see…the marriage that is struggling, the prodigal child, the current job situation, the medical diagnosis, the bank account numbers.
If you’re in a season where you’re suffering today, you need to lay down what is crushing you and zoom out. As you zoom out, you might begin to say, “Jesus may be using this crushing in my life in ways that are powerful even though I simply can’t see that right now.” Or, “My faithfulness in this matter may have an effect on my children. What if Jesus is up to something good in my character? What if my faithfulness in this suffering will count for something?” You only get that when you zoom out.
Second, anchor yourself in these words from Jesus in Revelation 2:8 – I know your afflictions and your poverty…
In this passage Jesus is speaking directly to a group of people who were enduring suffering and pain. They were suffering persecution, pain, hatred, slander, oppression, and poverty. And here Jesus says to these people (and to you and me), “I know your afflictions. I know that you are getting the life crushed out of you. I know.”
I wonder how many of us would say, “I feel like that today. I feel as though the life is getting crushed out of me.” You might be feeling that your marriage is being crushed, or you’re facing financial issues, or a medical diagnosis. I would plead with you, especially those of you who feel like you are in a season where the life is getting crushed out of you, I pray you would receive these words from Jesus, “I know what’s going on with your spouse, with your kids, with your job… I know what’s happening to you financially, I know the depression that you can’t shake… I know.”
I hope you’ll make plans to join us at a newhope campus this Sunday as we continue the “God Speaks” series and learn about more ways in which God speaks into our lives.
Hillsborough Campus Pastor