Sweet Suffering?

Don’t intend to spam with blog posts but I was so blessed by a friend that I wanted to share.

Backstory: friend by friend, my mom and Cynthia (who had Linc during appt) and Scott were joined by friends who came and hugged and laughed and loved and prayed and laughed some more. As in life, joy mixed with sorrow and blessings amidst heartache. Someone asked how Scott was doing and he shared that he is realizing he is going to have to have faith that he’s never had to have before – faith that heaven is real as God promised, faith that the Lord will take care of me as He promised, faith that the Lord will protect Linc as He promises…

Scott then talked about James 1:2-4:

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

… And how we don’t understand but have to believe and expect the Lord to connect the dots between joy and suffering for His glory and our good.

So, as a (long) backstory, those are the questions and conversation we had with friends and this is the text I woke up to (written at 4:57am) from my kind and faithful and humble friend, Jeff Ward:

Jennifer – hope this text doesn’t make a noise and wake you guys up 🙂 but I’ve been up praying for you all and wanted to send this before I left. Ironic that I’m speaking to Porch leaders this morning about “time management.” Just read your latest blog post (maybe I’ll just read your blog post to them and sit down) and hurts my heart for you guys. I’ve thought often about what I would say standing before the furnace. I’ve also meditated on James 1:2-4 a bunch this year and stood in a sweaty room while my Iranian friends told me story after story of what “coming to Christ” has meant for them – jail, loss of family, loss of jobs, death threats and yet their joy in the Lord unmistakeable. They really have an “anti-prosperity” gospel. In fact one man grabbed my arm when I asked if he was leaving to go somewhere “safe” (dumb question) and said “Brother Jeff, I believe in two blessings – the blessing of salvation and the blessing of suffering.” The more I’ve thought about that the more I see that in my bible. I don’t like it. In fact I really hate it. I hate cancer. I hate what it does and what it represents. But I know that somehow God uses it to James 1 us…to make us whole and complete, spiritually mature. So hard to connect the dots… Just know that you are greatly loved by the Wards and countless others who will continue to lift your family up as you stand before the furnace. God is able to deliver. He’s able to give joy even in the midst of that. He is good. He loves you. He loves your family. He has, is, and will redeem the pain…trusting the guy who said “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world!”

And, because I am in this season where I deeply desire to know and trust Him more I can’t resist urge to point out that Scott used the exact same phrase ‘connect the dots’ and the same Scripture reference from James 1 and God is more than able to provide answers to our questions through His children (He is our Provision). He also woke my second mom (some would say stepmom but she’s far too dear and close so I prefer to explain that I was gifted with a second mom who loves me and our family, including my first mom, very much) with an offer to help with my grandmother (dad’s mom who is 95 and Thursday is Lincoln and my day with her) but she is already taken care of because He woke our friend Hite even earlier and he had already called my grandmother and arranged to take her to doctor. He’s provided. And as we left doctor yesterday our ‘next steps’ related to a bunch of tests and bloodwork that need to be done on Monday or Tuesday before I can start on the trial (pending confirmation in Houston) … And as I looked at my phone after doctor, my friend Amy had written: ‘Lewis, can the kids and I help with Lincoln on Monday or Tuesday?’ More provision.

I expect, if you choose to walk this road with us on the blog and in life, you will get a wide range of realities and emotions and joy and sorrow and laughter. Today, on the heels of last night, I wanted to share our journey related to suffering and faith and how the Lord can (and will) ‘connect the dots’ … And use friends like last night and Jeff’s text to help us. I suspect that when we ‘connect the dots’ it will be straight line pointing us to JESUS and the heart of the Father and His love for us. And you.

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11 thoughts on “Sweet Suffering?

  1. Jen, do you remember singing this verse in Pioneer Girls? “Dear brothers is your life full of difficulty and temptation? Then be happy….” Always so difficult. Love you.

  2. Jennifer, we roomed next to you, Scott and Lincoln last year at Horn Creek. I am praying for you and your precious family and loved ones all the time. The Lord has laid you all on my heart and I am honored to walk this road with you. That you would honor and bless the Lord during this journey humbles me. I am encouraged by your faith and His goodness. Love to you and yours, sister…

  3. Jennifer – You are one amazing lady that God is using to draw us all closer to Him. Thank you for sharing your journey – honored to pray for you and your sweet guys and those walking closest with you. Your blog needs to go viral for you and your words are shining light towards God who connects the dots for all of us in ways that we can not even find words to explain His goodness and love towards us. Lee and Frances Jenkins

  4. Jennifer – that you continue to praise the Lord and encourage us all to have joy despite difficult circumstances..amazing. Thank you for Scott’s vulnerability. I am sure many who are hurting, sick, or in whatever difficult situation can relate. Praying for you and your family.

  5. Jennifer, praying for you and your sweet family. Thank you for continually pointing us to Christ. He is worthy. He is mighty. You are His.

  6. You are an amazing woman…..with a wonderful family and terrific friends……God is covering you all…….thanks for sharing it all…..

  7. Jenn and Scott, it will be a blessing to walk this journey with you through the emotions, sufferings, faith, joy, blessing, tears, laughter and much prayer! There was another young woman who was called to glorify God through suffering and she said, “we don’t choose how we are to glorify God,” another said, “but we choose whether or not we will glorify Him.” You, my friends have chosen well to glorify the Savior, Emmanuel, yes, God with us and with you three!

  8. Jennifer, It’s been some time since we have seen you but please know our hearts, and thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    Cary

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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