4 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh,[a] arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. (1 Peter 4 ESV)
Suffering is a mystery to me. I know that it can be a purging, refining fire. I have been studying the life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta lately. As I study and read, I find myself naturally seeking more understanding into suffering and how it relates in the believer’s life. Mother Teresa had an acute understanding of profound human suffering. She also lived totally for the will of God. What does it mean to ‘be with someone’ in their suffering? What does it mean to walk through mine? I realize that I am often quick to minimize or “stuff” areas of life where I might actually be suffering and deny that it is actually a “thing” but I am realizing that Christ wants to be with me in each hard thing. In all of it. Whether I denounce it as too small a hardship to be named as such or not. 1 Peter 4 enthrones Christ; God preeminent above all in and through life- and this is a purpose found in suffering- to be freed from the flesh to be free in Christ.
8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4 ESV)
Mother Teresa lived a life of love and all that she did was informed by a Great Love that she fully believed was ardently for the particular person directly in front of her. I have also been studying her life with this at the forefront. God’s love is something I ponder often, and desire greatly to grow more fully in outworking in and through my life. I think about what it means to be fully loved and fully known and how I can live into that with the people in my life. I have been trying to think of each small act as love in action. I am not a doer by nature; not at all. I try to serve in God’s love as I am able, remembering that I am loved (not for what I do, THANK the LORD) but for who I am, because He formed me and is forming me, in love. It is from this that I try to flow in my home and family life, with many imperfect, beloved people. How can I be more excellent for Christ and exhibit His love?
The Light in You
33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.” (Luke 11 ESV)
I just bought battery operated Christmas candles for every window in our house, and I am so so excited to put them in the windows. I can’t wait until they arrive. Light is another metaphor, image, and ideal that I ponder often and speaks deeply to my soul. I want our house to be lit with beauty- beauty that will nestle deep into my children’s hearts and light the neighborhood around us. I have so many deep seated memories pertaining to light and especially Christmas Candle Light. There is a quiet stillness found in a darkened room lit with small golden shine from window candles. I have pondered Christ in the circle of its beauty. I have driven Maryland countryside, way out in the “boonies” heading to the Pennsylvania line- in the winter, when everything is covered in the white sheen of snow. Along the way, houses gleam out window candle light, gold against the white iridescence. The hope that light speaks to me witnesses deep in my soul, with quiet insistence. Mother Teresa says that God is found in interior and exterior stillness. It is in this place of interior stillness, that we can hear His voice (according to her). Never-the-less, Jesus speaks often of light and this passage reflects the need to be utterly light filled and shining out into the world around one.
Lord, let there be beauty and light in and through my life. Let me walk in it more fully. Have mercy on me and keep me from suffering, but when I do, let me find You more fully in and through it. Let me know I am secure and safe in Your love and let me learn to see You in all the hard, however small, in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.