When Faith Meets Suffering-Part 2: Longsuffering Requires Discipline
She brought her coffee into her quiet place and began her devotions. At this point she was reaching for any piece of truth, encouragement that would keep her afloat, help lift her up and out of her own thoughts. Just as she finished her short daily devotion, the phone rang; it was him.
Thanks for joining me in this new series, When Faith Meets Suffering, Part 2. If this is your first time with us, you may want to scroll down to find last week’s so you don’t feel as thought you are jumping in the middle of a painful puddle of confusion.
When his tear-filled confession came, it brought both pain and relief, excruciating pain for her and relief she could feel from him and for him. His innermost secrets had been robbing him of his peace and stealing love from their marriage. What she had known in her gut had finally been revealed. It wasn’t a deal-breaker but it could have been…but it still hurt so bad. She knew in her heart he was stuck between doing what was right and taking the easy way out. But when she combined this confession with his recent matter-of-fact confession of not being in love with her, the urge to quit overwhelmed her.
Let’s hit the pause button on this true story that has led to this series. First, let me say that while I am writing from the side of pain, I know I am walking towards a victory so would you be willing to stay in this series so we can celebrate the victory together?
We can feel the suffering, can’t we, and yet, if we’re honest with ourselves, at first sight of suffering, what is our response? Is it to fall? Do we run from it, or do we self-medicate so as not to feel the pain? But what if…we were to meet it head-on, turn and face it, trusting The One who suffered for our suffering to hold us, to allow the suffering to be used for something beyond our imaginations?
When the husband confessed his contribution to their troubled marriage a week after telling her on more than one occasion that he wasn’t in love with her, she could have done a number of things to protect her heart from breaking into more fragments. She could have let him have it, allowed her broken, fleshly heart to take over and let her words spill forth. She could have demanded things, ended the marriage. Let’s face it, when left to our own devises, we can really make a mess of things, right?
Instead, she chose to extend grace, because as His Word says, “To much is given, much is required.”
Let’s get back to where she was at in this phone conversation.
She listened to him as he followed up his confession with another one: “Sometimes I feel like coming and getting you and taking you away and talking it out with you and then other times, I just want to run. I’m tired.”
She truly understood where he was at, and told him so. “Thank you for being honest. I want to be your safe place, and I do believe that now that this is out, God can do something amazing, and make this marriage better than it’s ever been.”
“Well, he needs to hurry, because I’m just being honest, I’m not there.”
The words hung in cellular space and then she could hear him crying. Her own tears were streaming down her face and onto her journal. His next profession didn’t really surprise her: “I don’t want to be there anymore. I want to sell the house.”
“Okay. I’ll call the realtor today.”
“Thank you for hearing me” he said before saying good-bye.
She sat there, feeling a sense of unwanted validation; and yet, on the other side of it was a peaceful feeling of thankfulness, knowing that God had heard her cry for truth, despite the painful reality of it, and she had handled it in a way that was only possible by His grace.
At the risk of sounding like it was simple, let me just emphasize that this was incredibly tough and required so much discipline, which is a form of self-control. The longest and most rewarding relationship I’ve ever had is with Jesus, and He has taught me through His Love Letters and many challenges in life the value of self-control. In the last couple of weeks, which I’ll be sharing about, I’ve come to the realization that Abba and me have worked too hard on the Fruits of the Spirit, especially this self-control discipline, to give it away to anybody as a result of anybody!
I want to reiterate that while I am blogging this on this side of pain, I am confident that there is a victory or two to be had on the other side, and that, my friend is something I’ll want to celebrate.
So thanks for hanging with me and walking with me during one of the most painful times of my life…
Until next Wednesday,