Listens: Why Not me? Taisha Page Lockhart
Primer on Suffering Pt 1 The crucible of suffering
At my church, we just started a new series on 1 Peter. the gist of the first sermon, if you embrace the call, you must embrace suffering for Him. I wonder if I could endure severe suffering for Christ? Someone asked would you fall away if it became illegal to be Christian. I don't want to be overconfident like Peter, but I know I have to prepare for that moment. If I learn anything from studying Elijah, it was the importance of preparation. We prepare for our careers and train for sports, but we think we will automatically be ready when spiritual testing comes. For Peter, that moment of preparation was his fall. He had the bravado but not the substance to back it up. Jesus probably knew when he told Peter that Satan was looking to sift him like wheat and told him to pray. That moment and Jesus'reinstatment probably humbled him. Then Spirit empowered him on Pentecost. He also learned in Acts 10 not to be prejudiced against the Gentiles, but this was the first step. Peter become the rock on which the Jewish branch of what would become Christianity was built.
Sometimes it is not even persecution, but learning to put to death selfish plans and fear. I admit this has been hard for me as I never knew what my calling was. I thought I missed it because I did not take advantage of earlier moments. As I interact with i_fondue on these matters, I thought this probably what I needed to grow out of stagnancy. Fear of stepping out was my top enemy. I felt I had to wait to get it all right. However, I can see that God gifted me with deep insight despite my disability. If I repeatedly try to lay down fleeces like Gideon, nothing will get done. If Esther hesitated, she never would have saved her people. Of course, she prayed and fasted to keep from being rash, but eventually, she went into action despite the risk of approaching the king.
Pastor Bill Bush related the loss of his dream of being used of God through baseball after a devastating knee injury that took 8 hours to repair. He recalled being in the hospital so distraught that he accidentally tossed his Bible in frustration through his room door. A nurse who was also a Christian gave it back to him and said he would need it. The dream was later fulfilled when he came to start the church when it met at a school. He was an assistant baseball coach for three years. People felt more confident with him as the coach rather than just being a pastor and began attending services. Sometimes our calling is fulfilled in unexpected ways, and suffering may be the catalyst.