Facing God's Truth
Years ago, I was wrestling with some private pain. First my dad was diagnosed with cancer. Then God “added sorrow to my pain.” We were in missions, and the work meant that my husband was traveling for the mission for long periods of time. I struggled with the sorrow over my dad and with constantly missing my husband, but I did not feel that I could tell anyone about it. After all, Joan, my senior missionary, was in the same situation, and she seemed to cope all right. She toughed it out just fine while I was hiding my feelings and turning a brave face to the world. Actually, I became quite proud of the fact that nobody really knew what was going on inside me. I determined to keep it that way. I knew that God knew, but I had stopped talking to Him about it. I believed that He had told my friend, the senior missionary’s wife, merely to toughen up. I knew that would be the message for me as well.
As I nursed my growing resentment against the mission, and obliquely against God, for putting me in the situation with seemingly no way out, God told on me! Somehow, He let someone know about my pain. And guess who He told? That’s right, my senior missionary! The very person I didn’t want to know. I remember saying, “Well now, that’s great! Lord, why did You do that?”
The first thing the missionary said to me, however, was, “I’m just the messenger!” She managed to relay to me that this was not her word, but God’s. She was not criticizing me; in fact, she had every sympathy for me. She, more than anyone else, understood my feelings. She was simply the mouthpiece of the Lord. The message was a tough one. “This is how it is; sometimes following Jesus brings with it a cost, but a cost, however much it hurts, that is eminently worth it!” My “bishop” used her staff to poke this soldier back into the fray.
The main thing Joan taught me was to not allow pain and sorrow to stop me from talking to God. “Why cut yourself off from your main source of help, Jill?” she asked me that day. The day I was able to receive that word of the Lord from my friend was the day I stumbled back to the throne room and was on my way to victory!
I realized she was only the messenger and that what she had to say was truth from God, so I was able to accept her words and do something about them. That day I asked God to take my resentment and anger and to help me have a sweet spirit of acceptance. And He did.
Sometimes God asks us to be the bearers of the kind of message Joan gave me. At those times, we need to pray that we will be able to relay the vital piece of information in a way that will be accepted. At other times, instead of delivering the hard message you have to receive it. What are some of the truths you may have to face during your times of suffering?
Jill Briscoe is the Founder and Executive Editor of Just Between Us magazine and ministry.