Saturday, July 14, 2012

Perfected through Suffering

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4

Suffering is all around us and it is a strong reminder that we are not of this world, but instead destined to walk eternally in the glory of our Lord Jesus. Heaven is coming soon, and for some, not soon enough!

These past three weeks have been very difficult for Lori as she has had severe neck pain and burning return with a vengeance. She has been experiencing pain on a scale of 3 to 9 and one night even a 10. Much of her days are spent with hollowed out eyes and peas on her neck every 30 minutes. She moves around, but cannot do much, and especially cannot write. Fortunately, she has been prolific in her writing and most of her recent posts were previously written.

I am married to the perfect wife! Yes, Lori is everything she teaches and more. She is the perfect picture of one who wants only to please Jesus and in so doing, wants to joyfully please her husband. I am one blessed man, and no, I did not force any of this on her, as some of her detractors might say.

We had a rough, yet probably average marriage until she read Created to Be His Help Meet. That is by far the best book I have never read. When Lori started to want to please me and seek my leadership in her life, our marriage was unlocked and deep intimacy filled with respect was the result. Who would have guessed that doing things God’s way in even the things that are hard to understand could lead to abundant and unimaginable blessings?

When just one spouse is willing to give up self and selfishness to seek the best interest of the one they said they “will love til death do you part,” then a marriage has a fighting chance at success. And when God takes two who both seek to please the other, that is when a marriage develops the deep and abiding intimacy that God designed and makes growing old together a dream, instead of a nightmare.

So Lori is perfect for me, and perfected by Jesus in so many ways, even in suffering. I ask that you all pray with me that God would miraculously heal her after 25 years of on and off pain, and that we might be able to go on vacation this year together. I believe in the power of prayer, even though I do not pray as I should, and I know that some of you friends out there have a special gift and calling of the Lord to minister through prayer, and I beg your intercession on Lori’s behalf.

I love my wife dearly and hate seeing her in pain. If I could take some or all of it from her I would, but I could never hold up under its strain like Lori does… with such deep joy and the struggle to make her family’s life pleasant and enjoyable, even when she is in pain. When I ask her how she does it she will say, “My life is so hard, why should I make everyone around me miserable?”

Lori really does practice what she teaches and believes every word of her Bible. She knows that her joy comes not from circumstances, but from the One who lives inside of her. When Jesus lives in us, he never gives us more than we can handle and uses our suffering for his glory. Is that not his promise?

May God continue to use Lori to minister in many ways and may I not get in too much trouble for posting this while she sleeps tonight.  Your thoughts and prayers for Lori are all greatly appreciated.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Romans 8:18