To This You Were Called

  • Sept. 24, 2015
  • #8714

Life was not designed for our comfort. However, discomfort, challenges, and suffering lead us to depend on Jesus, and learn obedience through our hardships.

To This You Were Called

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I’m not exaggerating when I say,

That often during a single day I will have to make 26 different adjustments in my wheelchair. I mean, after all, I sit down all day and that, after a while, can get pretty uncomfortable. When pain begins to burn between my shoulders, it's, "Rainey, (she’s my radio assistant), Rainey, would you please push my hips this way, lift up on that side, move my knee to the right (then later), would you please stretch my arm up? Thank you for shoving that pad down further behind me." And if that doesn’t work, then I’ll ask Rainey to please go find Kathren so I can lay down and re-do my corset – I wear one of those tight surgical binders to help me breathe and sit up. I don’t like to do it, but if all else fails, I just have to lie down and make an adjustment that way. Sometimes I think I'm going to drive me and my friends crazy! And bless Rainey and Kathren for being so patient, so flexible and helpful.  

You know, when I have days at the office like that; when pain encroaches and I just can’t do anything to solve it, I try to remember 1 Peter chapter 2, verse 21 where the Holy Spirit tells me, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”

I have to remember that: to this I have been called; a life of discomfort. The Man of Sorrows acquainted with grief is my example. And His example reminds me that not only is suffering and hardship to be expected, but His example shows me how I am to handle it. It is natural to be frustrated when days like I just described happen. But it’s supernatural to not let frustration get to you, but to simply take a deep breath and do what you can to solve the problem. Life is supposed to be difficult. Right there is such an important insight, and if most of us could grasp that, our hardships wouldn’t seem so overwhelming.  Life is wired to be challenging; it’s supposed to be that way. Jesus said in this world we would have trouble. Philippians chapter 2, verse 29 reinforces that it has been granted – that is, it has been gifted – on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but to suffer for Him.

Sometimes I don't want that gift, but I remember that discomfort is God's way of keeping me close to Him. If Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered, (and the Bible says that of Him in Hebrews chapter 5 verse 8, then I can learn from 26 different adjustments in my sitting position in one day. And bless their hearts, so can my friends who help me. Jesus is ecstasy; He is joy beyond compare and it is worth anything to be His friend. Here’s the thing, here’s my point:

God desires our intimacy, right? But He shares that intimacy on His terms. And those terms require for us to in some way suffer as His Son suffered when He walked this earth. I don’t entirely understand why, but it is senseless to argue with God on this point. We are to learn, just as Jesus learned, from our hardships. So, the next time you get hit broadside with a bruising disappointment or a frustrating series of irritating problems, remember the example of Jesus. God is asking you to follow in His steps. So I would like you to pray with me today (‘cause you know what? I think I need to go make an adjustment in my wheelchair right now), so pray with me: Lord Jesus, it goes against my human nature to look at hardship as a gift. Today, help me to unwrap that painful gift and learn obedience through the things I suffer. Help me to understand that life is supposed to be difficult. Most of all, may I realize You are worth it. Amen.

© Joni and Friends


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