Enabled to Win

  • Feb. 4, 2016
  • #8809

The Lord enables you to win your crown of glory as He carries you through the suffering, pain, and trials that you face on earth. 

I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a little lesson from Matthew chapter 20.

And you know the story well.  It’s the story of James and John when they came to Jesus with their mother, asking if He would give them the best place in the kingdom. We read that the Lord did not refuse their request, but He told them it would be given to them if they could do His work, drink His cup, and be baptized with His baptism – the baptism of a very hard and difficult death. 

You know, whenever I read this story, I am reminded that hardship is the price we pay for the most glorious crown in heaven. I don’t know why, but often the greatest things are always surrounded by the hardest things. As someone once said, “Triumphal victory arches are not built out of rose blossoms and silken cords, but of hard blows and bloody scars.” Hardship is the price we pay for coronation. And so, the very suffering that you are enduring today is given to you by the Master for the explicit purpose of enabling you to win your crown.

I sense that for myself. After decades of living in this wheelchair, I can say for sure that the greatest things are always hedged by the most painful things.  And when my corset digs into my side, or I get tired of holding up my head on these paralyzed shoulders, when the wheelchair begins to feel a little overwhelming, I remember James and John and their conversation with Jesus. I remember that this is the price of glory. No one enters Christ's heaven without sharing in Christ's sufferings – that’s just a fact of the Christian life, friend. 

But here’s the encouraging word: You do not have to wait for some far off hardship in the future or some romantic difficulty or some far-away emergency. No, thankfully, you don’t have to be in a wheelchair like me. Today, you can rise to meet the actual hardships that God has placed you in right now. Your crown of glory is secretly embedded in the very heart of these difficult things – and you know what those hardships and trials are, that are pressing you this very hour, or this week of your life. All I can say is, please do not resist that difficult thing. Receive every inward and outward trouble; every disappointment and discouragement as the blessed opportunity to die to self, and be better united with the heart of your Savior, and prepare yourself for that glorious coronation. Therein lies your crown.  Like the saying goes, “It matters not how the battle goes, or the day how long; Faint not! Fight on! For tomorrow comes the song.” 

Finally, I do not need to tell you that at Joni and Friends, we serve many special-needs families and people with disabilities who are fainting not and fighting on. They are sharing in the cup of Christ. They are doing the work of obedience in the midst of great suffering. And although a crown awaits them in the future, they need encouragement right now. A few weeks ago I asked you to write Valentine notes and cards of encouragement to five special-needs families that came to our Family Retreats last year. If you have not written your note, it’s not too late. Just go to my radio page today at joniandfriends.org to get all the details on our Heart for the Disabled families – then send in your note before next week and it will arrive in time for us to package up with all the rest and send to these families in time for Valentine’s Day. And as you do, remember that the price of your own suffering may feel great, but a crown awaits!

© Joni and Friends

 

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