CALLED FOR THIS?
Therefore my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:10-11
I have been tossing around the concept of being called to affliction. Is this really something that one is called to or is it just part of a broken and fallen world?
Throughout my journey in suffering, I have been led in Scripture to know that my affliction is from the hand of God – hence the name of this blog - Sovereign. Everything filters through my Sovereign God’s hand. Everything has to have permission from the Father to make it to us. ALL must filter through the hand of God. Everything. Even suffering.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love
Him and have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
I see two things here (well, actually way more than that, but I’m going to focus on two) jumping off the page – CALLED and PURPOSE.
CALLED – kletos (Greek). Called, invited (to a banquet). Appointed, or (specially) a saint.
PURPOSE – prothesis (Greek). A setting forth, i.e. proposal (intention). A setting forth of a thing, placing of it in view, the shewbread.
To say that I am overwhelmed would be a complete understatement. Do you mean to tell me that I am God’s shewbread? Am I placed out before the LORD to be used for His glory? The shewbread was placed in the Tabernacle and it was in continual presence before the LORD as a an act of worship and an Old Testament version of, “Give us this day our daily bread.” The table for the shewbread was never without the bread serving as a reminder for us that we are dependent upon God in our calling.
Last night I was pondering what my purpose is right now – 2 years into this affliction. Am I right where I need to be, have I strayed, is God still using my affliction for His glory? Am I useful for Him? Do I run from my affliction or do I let Him have His way? Am I satisfied in Him as my daily bread and am I thankful for being placed before Him as His shewbread?
Honestly I was ready to bolt on Wednesday. In my room for 14 months, pain every moment, not able to walk very far, still no driving, housebound and tired of looking at the same 4 walls. Restrictions everywhere I turn. Whine. Whine. Whine. Is this all that God has for me? Am I to be like Amy Carmichael who was bedridden for 25 years in which she ran a huge ministry for orphaned children and wrote copiously?
CALLED FOR THIS?
When I read the meaning of called, I was taken aback. I am invited to a banquet? This brings to mind only 2 things: Psalm 23 and the wedding supper of the Lamb. Two notable and very important banquets in the life of a believer. Why? Because our host is none other than Jesus Christ Himself. One banquet is held in the presence of our enemies – meaning they can only watch Jesus serving us our favorite foods, the banquet table is set with impeccable taste and Jesus is right there as master Waiter at our beck and call. Our enemies are behind a plexiglass wall gaping with mouths wide open at the scene. And they can do nothing! Absolutely nothing. The other banquet is a wedding celebration supper in heaven surrounded by every believer in heaven and hosted by the Lamb of God.
I think what happens, at least it happens to me, is that I get so tripped up on the affliction itself that I forget God’s call and His purpose. What are they? All for His glory. I am so earthly grounded that my mind seldom remembers that my life is to glorify God in all things - in my calling and in my purpose.
When I remember that my suffering actually allows me to be a partaker with Christ in His, I have a taste of what the calling actually is. It’s an invitation to the banquet where my Lord is. And do you know what? It’s also the place where I can see His nail-scarred hands. It’s a table where we can give glory to God together.
I am reminded of what Paul wrote – Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
His power is perfected in me in my suffering, in this calling that He has for me. My purpose is to bring glory to God and by embracing the affliction God gives me, Christ’s power is then upon me. However, it means I have something in common with His Son. And the opportunity to share in His sufferings brings me all the more closer to Him - something I deeply desire.
Father God, I do thank You for my specific calling and purpose. At this moment in time it includes suffering, but it also includes something in common with You. And in the affliction I can give You glory. Please make me more like Your Son in that I can give You all of me. May I submit all my affliction to You. AMEN