If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. 2 Cor. 11:30
At the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus held a conversation with God that went like this: “God, I know you can do anything. Nothing is impossible with you. Please, Father, if there is another way that you can use to accomplish this without me going to the cross, please do it.”
You see, Jesus was as much flesh and blood as you and I, and the thought of hanging on that cross till He died was physically too much for Him. He knew the pain would be unbearable. The Bible says that He underwent such physical and emotional trauma that angels had to come and minister to Him.
But God’s answer to Him was typical: “My Son, it is true there is nothing that I cannot do. But this is the way that I have chosen. You have to suffer and die for the sins of my people. That is the only way acceptable to me.”
Now, the way we are, we want to know the ‘whys’ of things: ‘Why should this be this way?’, ‘Why shouldn’t it be this way?’ ‘Why, why?’ etc. Sometimes God provides us with answers, sometimes He does not. But that is not the important thing. The important thing is that if God has required something of us, we ought to obey because He knows what is best for us. That is faith.
When Jesus came to earth “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me”. Heb 10:5.
A body. That is what God has prepared for us also. God has given to us a body to sacrifice. We are to give out bodies as a living sacrifice. It is a painful thing, but it is what we are called to. That is why we should desire the grace that God gave to the Early Church, which enabled them to endure that kind of sacrifice, because it is the only sacrifice acceptable to God.
We see that in the suffering of these men, the life of the Spirit came upon the Church. The Church shook the world. One of the most telling statements about how the Church affected the world then is found in Acts 17:6: “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also”!
We, too, will affect the world spiritually one way or another when we accept the sufferings of Christ in our lives. That is the grace we should desire and pray for.
I know what I am talking about because there was a time I used to spend hours praying for material blessings. I did not know God’s plan and purpose then. Now that by the grace of God I see (albeit dimly), I know what is God’s most important requirement for me. It is to desire His grace in my life.
Paul reached a place where he lived, not because of anything of this world he had, but by the grace of God alone. He says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Cor. 15:10
This was the result of someone who had accepted to suffer in the flesh. May the Lord help us also in this generation. The materialistic gospel being preached today is destroying all this, but the Lord will touch and raise the few who will accept to suffer and bring true life to the Church.