THE FELLOWSHIP OF SUFFERING

 When you are in difficult places, God often has someone else nearby who can remind you of how the road is being built.  Eight years ago I still had a friend whose suffering drew me closer to God.

Some of you knew Dwight Ozard.  While working for Tony Campolo’s organization, he came down with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer and went through hideous treatment to bring him back to health. 

During the crazy August of 2002, we were writing emails back and forth.  After we had shared some of our life frustrations and difficulties, he wrote, “Hang in there.  I will if you will.”

You see, most of us carry silent grief and distress over the tougher lessons in life.  We may go through seasons of discouragement and discontent.

At those times, let’s not forget that time is a weak currency.  It will all be spent while you live on this earth.  The account is draining and will soon be gone.  Eternity is closer than we think.

So while we are still here, we need a focus.  Listen to what Paul had to say about this dilemma of mortal existence.


Rom 8:15-28
15 And so we should not be like cringing, fearful slaves, but we should behave like God's very own children, adopted into the bosom of his family, and calling to him, "Father, Father."
16 For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we really are God's children.
17 And since we are his children, we will share his treasures-for all God gives to his Son Jesus is now ours too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later.
19 For all creation is waiting patiently and hopefully for that future day when God will resurrect his children.
20 For on that day thorns and thistles, sin, death, and decay --the things that overcame the world against its will at God's command-will all disappear, and the world around us will share in the glorious freedom from sin which God's children enjoy.
22 For we know that even the things of nature, like animals and plants, suffer in sickness and death as they await this great event. 
23 And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us-bodies that will never be sick again and will never die.
24 We are saved by trusting. And trusting means looking forward to getting something we don't yet have-for a man who already has something doesn't need to hope and trust that he will get it.
25 But if we must keep trusting God for something that hasn't happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently.
26 And in the same way-by our faith --the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying. For we don't even know what we should pray for nor how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words.
27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows, of course, what the Spirit is saying as he pleads for us in harmony with God's own will.
28 And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.   (TLB)


I am waiting for the road to be completed.  I understand that it must be built and I will be detoured and delayed many times.  I will not forget that the road is being built so Jesus can get through the wilderness to us.  He is on His Way.  This is His Way.


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