Victory in Suffering
From Allen: One of the most important phrases I've ever heard in my life is that "vision leaks". Vision comes in many forms, and if the initial vision isn't routinely maintained it will begin to putter out. I think many of us have experienced this in things like workouts, diets, ambitious outdoor projects, and even school semesters. All of these things start out so strong, and then our passion begins to fade because life distracts us with other things. This is something that we need to be so aware of in our spiritual lives.
Songs like My Victory are pretty simple. I've heard reasons why people don't like simple worship songs, but the truth of the matter is that they serve a great purpose if the lyrics are right. "Oh Your love bled for me, Oh Your blood in crimson streams, Oh Your death is hell's defeat. A cross meant to kill is my victory." The gospel of Jesus Christ is a simple one, and I believe that we need to keep that simple gospel on our tongues. We need to remind ourselves that we serve a great God that died for our sins so we could live with Him in eternity. If we fail to remember that simple truth, we will begin to lose our zeal for that simple truth. We need constant reminders of the sacrifice Christ gave us, and we need ample opportunity to praise our Savior for that. Remember the gospel, share it with others, and give thanks constantly for our redemption as believers in Christ.
From Mark: The busyness of life can sometimes overtake us and steal from our "everyday" the blessings of living. Jesus in John 10:10 tells us that he has come to give us life and give it to the fullest. Now this is not a nod to prosperity gospel deception or "name it and claim it" theology, but to living a life that is pleasing to the Lord and in accordance to His will, that brings true and lasting joy. This kind of joy is something that sustains us when tragedy strikes, or a crisis of belief enters our lives.
Horatio Spafford was no stranger to tragedy. The Spaffords had a large family of five children in the late 1800's in Chicago. In 1871 their young son died of pneumonia and much of their business was lost in the great Chicago fire. The Lord was faithful and grew the business again. Horatio booked passage for his family to Europe on the Ville du Harve, a French ocean going liner but felt it necessary to stay behind to attend a problem with the business. Anna and their four daughters set sail on Nov. 21, 1873 to cross the Atlantic. Four days in to the trip tragedy struck. The ocean liner collided with a larger powerful ship and fell beneath the Atlantic in 12 minutes. Anna was the only survivor. She was discovered by a sailor rowing over the floating wreckage and reached Europe nine days later. She wired her husband a letter that began, "Saved alone, what shall I do?" Immediately he acquired passage on a boat to meet and grieve with his wife. As he passed over the sea at the spot his children drowned, it is said that he penned the words to the famous hymn "It is well with my soul".
When peace like a river, attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul
Friends, when difficult times come, and they will, we have but one hope. His name is Jesus. He is only one that understands what that kind of pain feels like. When God the Father, sent His son, to live this life of human existence and die the worst kind of death imaginable, He demonstrates that He understands pain. He understands hurt, and He alone can get us through it. This Sunday, if you are hurting, find your joy and pain in Christ. This is victory in the midst of suffering.
Mark and Allen
Checkout this week's playlist here.