In comparison to what others endure day to day, my suffering is quite minimal: a toddler’s accident here or there, a very close relative kicking against my ribs and sitting on my bladder, the reoccurring tasks that face many-a homemaker (shopping, vacuuming, sorting through Christmas and fall decorations, baby clothes, etc.). Nonetheless, on days like yesterday when everything seems dismally exhausting, the “suffering” part of my life seems quite overwhelming. (A good friend once said that she never compares each other’s “suffering” because each of us has a cross to bear that legitimately feels like a cross to us and requires us to lean on Christ… even if someone else views it as a cake-walk.)
Yesterday, I let my falling-down maternity pants and my to-do list itch their annoying little ways into my bones and set me on edge all day. It took me most of the morning to figure out that the reason V was whiny was because I was whiny; I hadn’t looked her in the eye, laughed with her, or played with her for a couple of hours while I stressed about all of the “stuff” I had to do. It’s days like that when I have to slow down and ask “why am I doing all of this again?” and remind myself why I work to build our home, raise our child(ren), and bless my husband.
Needless to say, the article that my sister, Erin, sent a week ago was the perfect devotional for my whiny and distracted heart. Despite the specific title, John Piper’s “Counseling with Suffering People” provided just the right correction and encouragement for me in relation to my God-given ministry right here where the toilets need to be cleaned, the hardwood floors showcase every piece of dust, and where a little girl is longing to be taught how to delight herself in God. ‘Thought you might enjoy the article, too.
“The aim of all ministry is the glory of God through Jesus Christ. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. But suffering is a great threat to our satisfaction in God. We are tempted to murmur, complain, blame, and even to curse and quit the ministry. Therefore, joy in God in the midst of suffering makes the worth of God – the all-satisfying glory of God – shine more brightly than it would through our joy at any other time. Sunshine happiness signals the value of sunshine. But happiness in suffering signals the value of God. Suffering and hardship joyfully accepted in the path of obedience to Christ show the supremacy of Christ more than all our faithfulness in fair days.” – John Piper
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” – Philipians 2