Some days it comes together very nicely. I began a fresh read through Philippians today, again in The Message, and came across an interesting point in chapter one. “There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting.” Is this not an amazing view of suffering? How can it be as much a gift as those moments when he wins our trust?
To live that way one has to have his or her eye set far beyond our temporal comfort or convenience. It has to be set so deeply in God, that we recognize in those moments of extremity that God is all we have, and having him we have far more than enough. Paul just didn’t talk that way he lived it.
A few moments later I was reading in That They May All Be One, Even as We Are One, an outstanding transcript of some talks T. Austin-Sparks gave at the end of his journey to some believers in the Philippines. Here’s what I read this morning:
‘This one thing I do, I press on. Take away my work, I am going on with the Lord. Take away my friends, I am going on with the Lord. Take away my liberty, I am still going on with the Lord.’
How great a Lord he must be!
So what else is there? In overwhelming joy and debilitating pain, let us go on with the Lord. When God provides tons of incredible fellowship, or none, let us go on with the Lord. Whether we are in times of refreshing or times of intense struggle, let us go on with the Lord. When we have lots of opportunity to share his life or none at all, let us go on with the Lord.
Even in the face of certain death, Paul found no greater joy than his longing to know the Lord and even admitted that it was far better for him to finally see him face-to-face than to continue to live on in this age. When the Lord Jesus becomes our sole reason for being, there is only life in him today, and greater life in him to come.