Links Daily Devotional

Peaceful Suffering

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-4, The Message)

“It’s just a game!” Those are the words of my precious wife of 49 years. Bless her heart, she has seen me struggle and enjoy this wonderful game of golf for nearly 50 years. But golf really is not a struggle when compared to life and relationships.

A life well-lived responds to adversity in a way that reveals our eternal values. We will all suffer, being given crosses to bear. The question is how we learn from and respond to the crosses God gives us.

He then added, “Don’t ever underestimate the power of a wheelchair.”The promises of God, sealed by the death and resurrection of Jesus, guarantee us who believe that while we face suffering in this life, these troubles will end someday, turned to joy forever. Our faith in these promises and the God who declared them is demonstrated in the way we face our trials—do we see them as “a sheer gift,” even as they are happening?

I love reading old authors and scholars, especially a man by the name of Fenelon, an archbishop in France in the 17th century. Regarding suffering, he said: “A cross which comes from God ought to be welcomed without any concern for self. And when you accept the cross this way, even though it is painful, you will find that you can bear it in peace. But when you receive your cross unwillingly, you will find it to be doubly severe. The resistance within is harder to bear than the cross itself. Nothing so shortens and soothes suffering as this spirit of non-resistance.”

A case in point: Jimmy is a good friend who lives here in Texas and who amassed a wonderful career in amateur golf winning many tournaments. His legend grew through the years, as his competitors would marvel at his ability to split the middle of every fairway with his driver. A tragic automobile accident left Jimmy a paraplegic. Then there were complications that led to the amputation of both legs. He has now embraced his faith in Jesus more dramatically than any other time in his life. Jimmy is an inspiration to friends, doctors, nurses, our Links Players, and fellow golf competitors. He often calls to listen with our local Links Fellowship and contributes so much.

Jimmy emphatically told us one day, “You will never know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.” He then added, “Don’t ever underestimate the power of a wheelchair.” Jimmy knows the power of Jesus in his life and wants that power for everyone.

Oswald Chambers wrote, “If we give way to self-pity and indulge in the luxury of misery, we remove God’s riches from our lives. No sin is worse than the sin of self-pity, because it removes God from the throne of our lives, replacing Him with our own self-interests.”

It’s not an easy road, but I know you will find eternal value in facing your challenges with peaceful suffering. Jesus is there, the ever-present answer. Let him reign and you’ll secure the peace you need.

Randy Wolff
April 4, 2017
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