September 05, 2008

Suffering, Bears, and Woodpeckers

Read through 2 Corinthians and was struck by the sacrifices Paul made for the gospel. The Holy Spirit was asking me, “what have I sacrificed for the kingdom?”… “in what ways have I suffered to advance the gospel?”

“Suffering” and “sacrifice” are not the “feel good” words that American Christians want to hear. Talk about “abundance”, “blessing”, “power”, “victory”, and everyone cheers and flocks. Talk about “rejection”, “persecution”, “hardship”, “endurance” and people leave. The kingdom involves both!

The most sacrifice\suffering that I can think of in my life has been in my mission work. Sleepless nights, danger, exhaustion, opposition, some hunger, being way out of my comfort zone…still it’s pretty weak suffering. I have given up food during fasting, I have given up sleep to seek you, I have bypassed high-paying positions, but all these are so miniscule that it’s hard to say I have ever suffered.

Lord, I am not looking for “suffering” but I am willing to “suffer”. I want to give so generously and live so radically that it causes me to sacrifice in ways that I “feel it”.

About noon I climbed Attridge to my devotional spot overlooking 100 miles of trees, mountains, lakes and sky. Had a sweet time with Jesus.

Went to the lake and had an awesome time waterskiing and boating with Deb. At the campground we were within 200 feet of a huge black bear that got on his hind legs to view us. We kept our distance lest we enter into unwanted "suffering".

Just after that we saw a red headed woodpecker. The old Indian (native American…no…native Canadian…hmm) at the campground told us that this was a rare sighting and was a sign that we are blessed. We already felt blessed...God has been good.

Came back up the mountain and watched McCain's there is a man who suffered for his country! Wow! He suffered in unbearable ways but he was thanking God for the blessing of that suffering. Suffering and Blessing...Bears and Woodpeckers come together in the same package.

Shelley and Dwight arrived so we can work on the houses for the next two days.

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