Monday, 11 August 2014

Look to the Ultimate Counselor

This is what I said to a friend today and I thought I'd share it with you. This is really my aim with Rejoice in the Lord always! More than likely, the trials the Lord has called me to walk through are not the same as the ones He has placed in your life: who am I, therefore, to presume I can tell you much about suffering? I have so many things to be thankful for, so many trials the Lord has in His mercy spared me from (or at least He has for the time being)! :P There will, undoubtedly, be trials in your life that I cannot and never will be able to personally identify with.

BUT ... I know the One who does and is able to help you through each and every trial, our ultimate Counselor, the Prince of Peace, and I believe this is what makes blogging on this subject so worthwhile, regardless of how underqualified I may feel to do so. No matter what you are going through or have gone through, the Lord is the One who can ultimately bring you peace and comfort as you trust in Him and His soverignty over everything - even the negative circumstances in your life. I may not be going through what you are, but we are all the same in our need for the Lord in times of trial and temptation: and there is always someone out there who is hurting and needs Him. This is as true for me as it is for you!
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13 (emphasis mine)

Recently, the Lord has had me mulling over how He can use me and this blog more effectively to bring Him glory. Much as I love blogging and believe He can and does use it, it is so easy for it to turn into a one-person kind of ministry with a focus on my own thoughts and limited experience rather than what the Lord teaches in His Word and what a multitude of people have found to be true in the very different life experiences the Lord has brought them through. I personally do not feel that trying to do things entirely on my own (though relying on the Lord of course!) is the most effective way of ministering though undoubtedly the Lord still uses it! :D I want to encourage you all to be praying for this blog as I truly believe that prayer is one way a seemingly one-person ministry can be used mightily for the Lord, and become a ministry that is no longer based on that one person. It is incredible already what a change I have noticed in trying to remember to pray each time I blog or post something (please pray also that I would persist in this!): it appears that automatically God answered that by several people indicating that this blog or a post on it had challenged or encouraged them in some way! :D Praise the Lord for that and may He recieve all the glory!

Also, the Lord has convicted me very strongly lately over the self-focussed way I live my life. I constantly have a yearning to do more for the Lord and really make a difference in people' s lives rather than going through life serving myself. I've been thinking lately that I'm in the very privileged position of having few commitments compared to many people and lately I've been realising that I should be making the most of this time and opportunity that many do not have to really be imersing myself in serving the Lord. I have been blessed with many friends who are committed Christians and who are actively involved in serving Him in many different capacities using their various gifts. While I, on the other hand, feel I do so many things that benefit me but very few things for the Lord. Even this blog, arguably, requires very little personal self-sacrifice as it can be done from the comfort of a cosy chair, computer screen, Facebook and (within reason) as frequently or infrequently as life and time allows.

The Lord has been making it clearer and clearer to me that where my passion and gifting lies is really encouraging people, especially people who may be hurting/going through trials by pointing them to the Lord (though, as said above, encouraging, NOT couselling, which I think is another cup of tea altogether!). However, I am finding that this is something which does not naturally have an obvious outlet or means of serving except to be noticing and avaliable for those who are hurting - with a hug, a listening ear, words of wisdom/comfort, tissues, scripture, prayer etc. Or maybe a little gift or email/text/letter of encouragement or simply to say "how are you doing? I'm praying for you!". However, like all gifts given to us by the Lord, we need to be proactive in using them and developing them, disciplining ourselves, and that's where I find blogging comes in. I may not be part of your life and able to give you a hug or time to talk over a cup of coffee but I CAN point you through this blog to the One who can do more than I ever could! In fact, He already has in sending His Son to die for you!

I have been particularly surpised when I have been in the midst of a trial at the lack of resources focussed solely on this aspect of the Christian life. There have been countless blog posts written on the subject, or blogs devoted to one type of trial you might encounter (such as singleness, marriage issues, a medical condition etc.) but I have come across very few resources online devoted to addressing trials and suffering from a Biblical perspective more generally with a collection of recommendations of other websites/posts/books/resources etc. that is regularly updated (if you have come across resources like this blog, please let me know about it so I can add a link to it here)! I believe that there is a need for resources like this, which is another reason why I persist in blogging here. :)

This has turned into a waffly, unstructured post, but I do feel it reflects accurately my thoughts at the present moment. I hope that has enlightened you all as to why I believe it is right for me to blog regardless of whether my suffering is "greater" or "lesser" than yours (which, I believe in light of what Christ has suffered on your behalf and mine, is irrelevant and far from the point anyway). I hope that it has also encouraged you to be praying both for me and this blog, that the Lord would use it for His glory. And finally, if anyone out there would like to be involved at a more practical level in this blog (such as by writing posts) please prayerfully take it to the Lord and then get in touch! :) 

To God be all the glory - soli Deo gloria!

God bless!

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