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Joy in Suffering

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Last month my family and I celebrated Kade’s 6th glory day. Six years of beholding glory unexplainable, peace beyond understanding, joy beyond measure. I love imagining my boy in the presence of the Lord, his little voice singing hosanna at the top of His lungs, his hands lifted high in praise, his eyes reflecting the glory before him. I can’t wait to stand beside him there. October 28 is a day that I can now celebrate as Kade’s homecoming, but the process of learning how to rejoice rather than mourn has been a painful one indeed. The healing process of grief has opened my eyes to the Truth of God’s Word when it says that we are being sanctified by truth (John 17:17). That discipline, although painful for the moment, is bringing about the righteousness of God, and that His Word is training me in that righteousness (Hebrews 12:11-12).

His Word is training me in righteousness

I want to be sanctified. But walking through the process of sanctification isn’t my favorite. It’s painful and treacherous and at times extremely frustrating. In my flesh, I want the end without the means. But when I allow the Holy Spirit to infiltrate every part of me, I embrace the process knowing that the end result will be more than worth it. When Jesus asked us to follow Him, He didn’t woo us with promises of ease and comfort. He said “In this world you will have trouble” And He wasn’t kidding! Thankfully He also promised that we need not fear, He has already overcome our temporary home with its trouble and pain. (John 16:33 )

So why are we surprised when difficulties come? Why are we confused when tragedy hits? We eagerly welcome blessing from God, but when life gets hard, we are quick to think Him unfair and question His love. As a gift for Kade’s glory day a dear friend gave me beautiful frame containing what is now my favorite poem. It reads,

Pain knocked upon my door and said that she had come to stay; and though I would not welcome her but bade her go away, she entered in. Like my own shadow she followed after me, and from her stabbing, stinging sword no moment was I free. And then one day another knocked most gently at my door. I cried, No! Pain is living here, there is no room for more.” And then I heard His tender voice, ‘Tis I, be not afraid.’ And from the day He entered in—The difference it made! For though He did not bid her leave, (my strange unwelcome guest) He taught me how to live with her, oh, I had never guessed. That we could dwell so sweetly here, My Lord and Pain and I, within this fragile house of clay while years slip slowly by! (Guests by Martha Snell Nicholson)

In my flesh, I want the end without the means.
But when I allow the Holy Spirit to infiltrate every part of me,
I embrace the process

Learning to live with pain of any kind, although gut wrenching, will be worth it with a tender God doing the mending. I can testify to the fact that pain with Jesus is far sweeter than ease without Him. In my weakness He has indeed been strong and what a privilege to witness such strength (II Corinthians 12:10) I finally understand why James urges us to count it joy when we encounter various troubles and when our faith is tested. I want to be perfect and complete lacking in nothing, and if that’s what I truly want, than I’m also signing up for hardship, tragedy and loss. (James 1:2-8) It was through peril and certain death that Paul learned to be content in whatever state he was in (Philippians 4:11) because he understood that the pain of this present time is nothing compared to the glory that awaits us. (Romans 8:18-28)

Pain with Jesus is far sweeter than ease without Him

So rather than wondering why life is hard, we should see it as a chance to know God in a deeper, even more fulfilling way! What a gift! Lets strap on our armor, brace ourselves for what is coming, and enjoy the joy that will soon follow. Let’s welcome hardship and sorrow as a chance to become more intimately acquainted with our Savior. It’s not a matter of if hard times are coming, it’s a matter of when. Let’s be ready and willing and lets count it ALL as joy! It is indeed a privilege to testify to God’s faithfulness in sorrow, and for my heart to be the proof.

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Jessica Visser

About

Jessica Visser is the wife of a third generation dairy farmer and mommy of five. After teaching 1st grade for a few years, Jessica became a full time mom when the Lord chose to bless them with children. She now spends her days at the dairy with her 2 boys while her 2 daughters attend a local Christian school where Jessica volunteers much of her time. As the mommy of 5 children the Lord has gifted her with the task of raising 4. Her oldest son went to be with the Lord in 2007 when he was just 8 weeks old. The Lord continues to show His goodness to the Visser family and Jessica is humbled by the opportunity to testify to God’s faithfulness in her life. To contact her for speaking engagements please feel free to contact us.


  • Victoria Reynolds

    Thank you for sharing your story. I too have lost a son, nearly 6 yrs ago. I am grateful for the mercy and grace that I am shown by Him daily and knowing that my son is rejoicing in the Lord and not suffering any more. God bless you my sister.

    • Jess Visser

      Oh, Victoria I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m so thankful a day is coming when we will worship together before the throne. I am so looking forward to that day full of sweet reunions! Thanks for reading and I hope you continue to find encouragement here.

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