One of my deepest convictions is that the Church of the 21st century needs to further develop their theology of suffering. We have focused so much on a “me” centered gospel that it has left us completely unprepared for the days leading up to Christ’s return.
We will not be delivered from all suffering. In fact, there is often deep purpose in it for us. We see facets of who God is and therefore grow in the knowledge of God in the midst of suffering. Suffering and staying committed to Jesus is perhaps the most powerful witness of Christ’s presence in our life. It can awaken those who do not believe around us. There is both benefit and beauty in the suffering of the Godly.
One of the most powerful testimonies I’ve heard came from a very committed young lady I served as pastor. What she shared with me changed me.
I choose to believe that God is who he says he is. I believe that he is head over heels in love with me. And I also believe that it is his nature to heal. The fact that I have not been healed even though it is his nature to heal has triggered a kind of romantic mystery in me. If he loves me and his nature is to heal, and he hasn’t healed me. . .then it is costing him something for me to suffer. Why would he do this? There must be some part of me that he wants and doesn’t have yet, or there must be some part of him that I am not aware of yet. There’s got to be something that I need, because it costs him for me to suffer.
There is such beauty there. I want to know Him, both the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering.
About Rich Stevenson
Rich is the Executive Director of The Malachi Network (www.malachinetwork.org), a ministry focused on making the name of the LORD great among the nations. This network serves young leaders in missions and church planting.
Prior to his present ministry, Rich pastored in Southern New Jersey, planted a church in Wilmore, KY, established a network of churches, served as an adjunct professor at Asbury College and was a senior leader at The International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO as well as The International House of Prayer in Atlanta, GA.
Rich is the author of two books:
Secrets of the Spiritual Life—10 Lessons from the One Thing Passages (Baker Books, 2003)
A Voice from Home—The Words You Long to Hear from Your Father (WaterBrook Press, 2005)
He graduated from Asbury College in 1984 with a BA degree in Philosophy of Religion and Asbury Theological Seminary in 1987 with a Master of Divinity degree. In 2010, Rich received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Union Biblical Seminary in Yangon, Myanmar.
Rich has been married to Tania since 1982 and they have been blessed by amazing children: Zachary and his wife Meghan, Jacob and his wife Lena, Jessica and Corrie Emma.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized
and tagged Bible
, Bible Study
, God's love
. Bookmark the permalink