Monday, April 16, 2012

A Word to Comfort a Friend

[Below is a re-print of a post I wrote in July 2009. It is a personal word that I shared with a friend who had been hurt by friends he loved and trusted. Obviously this word is not meant for everyone reading this entry, but there may be some of you to whom it will speak. –Billy Long]

During my prayer time this morning I was reading about Jeremiah’s “perpetual pain” (Jer.15:15-21), and realized this word is for you. I know there are no simple answers or quick solutions to the grief and pain you are experiencing. But I think the Lord has given me a word that will at least give a little comfort until you complete this particular phase of your journey into the Lord’s purpose for you.

I believe the Lord did lead you in the path you took. It was not a mistake. He sent you there because he knew your pure heart and good insight would allow you to see the realities of the situation. He also knew that your integrity would cause you to speak up rather than sit silent. He knew it would be difficult and painful. He knew that you would question your own motives and search your own heart and wonder if somehow you had failed. He knew you would do this because the humble and obedient tend to examine themselves more diligently than the rebellious and self-centered who usually blame everything on others. He sent you to represent Him in sharing the insight and admonition that those around you needed to hear. Whether you realized it or not, you were, in a sense, a prophetic voice into the situation. Your wounds, therefore, are the Lord’s wounds, and you carry them for His sake. The scars on the prophets’ backs were badges of honor to be held before the Lord. Part of your healing will be to realize that your scars are from wounds received for the Lord’s sake. They will not be festering, disabling, sores that sideline you.

Jeremiah said, “Why is my pain perpetual and my wound incurable?” Obviously this is what it feels like to you now and where you may be for a while. But ultimately you will not see these pains and bruises from the perspective of yourself, but as trophies borne as a result of obedience and being sent on a difficult mission for the Lord.

The thing you have been through may leave scars. But that is not necessarily bad. Jesus still carries the scars in his hands, feet, and side. They bear testimony to the work the Lord produced through His obedience. You will eventually thank God that He counted you worthy to be among those who suffer for Him in such a way.

Remember, it is no compliment when the Lord allows a person to have an easy life with no challenges. It is a great compliment and signifies the honor and confidence the Lord has in you when He gives you difficult assignments that don’t seem fair for you to have to bear. God requires more of those He loves. He asks more of those from whom he expects more. You have loved the Lord and have wanted to know and do His will. He has let you see reality. But Solomon said that with wisdom comes grief (Eccles 1:18). The more reality we see and the more insight God gives us, the more we will realize how “out of plumb” things are and how much “whitewash” rather than mortar is being used in the wall. Then when integrity forces us to speak up, we are attacked for pointing out the truth, even when presenting it humbly and in love.

So in summary. I know it will take a while to work through the pain, even as it was with Jeremiah in the verses referred to above. But when you see it in the light of what I have shared, you will let it take you to Jeremiah’s place of promise where the Lord ministers His grace, strength, and redemption.

This is not meant to be a cliché or quick-fix, but to encourage you to stand in faith until the Lord shines the warmth of His pleasure on you and rewards you with even more insight and spiritual substance as a result of faithful obedience and perseverance. As with Job, relief will come when God shows up and reveals Himself (as in Job 42) to celebrate with you your victory, and to reward you for passing your test while you were serving Him. If we see ourselves as His servants (i.e. we are serving Him and representing Him rather than ourselves) ultimately we will come through the fire without smelling like it. (Dan. 3: 24-28).

Billy Long


Lowell "Lee" said...

That is so beautiful written and clearly anointed. Precious insights, well articulated. I admire your friend. Interestingly, you wrote that in July 2009, which is when I came to Glenpool. I wish I had conducted myself with the honor and grace and integrity your friend apparently did. I love you, Billy

Dwayne said...

Billy, that is amazing.. I so needed to hear that!