“If you take away the suffering you take away the ministry.” – Levi Lusko
Lusko is a pastor who is more familiar with suffering than most. He lost his 5 year old daughter to an asthma attack just before Christmas a few years ago. He said walking out of the emergency room without his daughter was the hardest thing he has ever had to do. I heard him speak this weekend at a Christian conference and I was so moved by his advice on how to prepare for moments of suffering. He said,
“How you do in suffering and in trial has very little to do with what you do in the midst of it, but what you did before you get there. Jesus said, ‘Storms reveal foundations, it’s not the ideal time to build one. You’ve got to prepare now.”
I have found myself trying to build a foundation on Christ in those pivotal moments when my world starts crashing down around me and it DOES NOT WORK! We do not know what 2016 will bring, but we do know that loss and suffering are a part of life. God does not promise to keep us from pain here on earth, but rather guarantees that it will be a part of our story. (John 16:33)
How do you not only survive, but thrive during the hardest moments that will come this year?
You build your foundation on Jesus now. You faithfully get to know who God is in the day to day moments as you grow your trust and dependance on Him before the storm comes.
I have found myself in a good season of life as I enter 2016, but I know that difficulty and storms will come. Instead of building my foundation to prepare, I feel like I have been sitting in the middle of my house in the fetal position with my eyes squeezed shut, in constant fear of what the next trial will be. I have slowly started thinking that I can handle my life on my own. During a good season in life, it’s easy to start neglecting our relationship with God because He is no longer the lifeline we need to get through the day. But when your world turns upside down you will need a deep and strong relationship with God to lean on, not just a lifeline.
This verse is the perfect example of what happens in our relationship with God when a storm comes and we have not been building our foundation during the good season.
Mark 4:17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.
I am not condemning you if you have turned your back on God during a difficult storm, but instead I am saying that I have been there! I dealt with depression over the last two years and because I had not prepared for that storm, my relationship with God suffered. I thought God hated me and clearly wasn’t listening to my prayers. Coming through on the other side, I now see that God had a plan through all of it. I wasn’t suffering because God hated me, but rather because He loved me. My ministry increased because of my suffering. It really resonated with me when I heard Pastor Lusko say, “It is THROUGH suffering not IN SPITE of it that God uses us.” I tried to start viewing it as an opportunity to be used by God on a greater scale!
Don’t wait until the storm is in sight to connect to God and lean on Him. Do it every day. Build your foundation now brick by brick. NOW is your moment to start training for the trial that you are not yet in!
You can watch the whole sermon that inspired me by Levi Lusko here.
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