What Meaneth this Suffering Love?
What is Christ in me? What does it mean — Christ in me? What means this suffering love of which you now speak? Why is it that God would ask us to pay such a price to live such a death as suffering love? Where do we find love such as this? Once found, what can we do to enter into life that is energized by love that suffers to prevail?
Let me die that He might live in me! Where is abundant life? Is it not found in love that suffers to live and move and have its being in me? What is life without love everlasting, love all enduring, love ever-pursuing, love ever-enabling, love ever-capturing the object of its affection? Love constrained; yes, Lord, love&constraining me, constraining you, and restraining the enemy.
Can Christ live in me in ways that He does not now? Can love surge beneath the places and realms unseen in me? Can I look beyond myself to see you and live to make you live in Him? Where is this life? How do we turn from the selfish to the unselfish, from the egocentric life to the altruistic life, from the self-centered life to the Christ-centered life?
There is only one way; we decide to die so that others might live. Of the others, the chief must be Christ, who is to live in us. How do we die this death? We say, "Yes Lord," when circumstances, needs, and people want to run over us. We say, "Yes Lord," when fatigue and disappointment want to hold us back. When, the Lord is calling us onward, we say, "Yes Lord." When the call to leave the world behind reverberates within our soul, we say, "Yes Lord." We say, "Yes Lord," when we feel overwhelmed by fear. We say, "Yes Lord," when hurt makes us want to pull away. We say, "Yes Lord," when pain and sorrow seeks to blind us to the path of self-renunciation. We say,"Yes Lord," when others say we cannot do it and then seek to run over us in their human zeal. We say, "Yes Lord," when injustice mocks at our sacrifices and intrigue comes against our purity. We keep saying, "Yes Lord," no matter what the devil does to steal us away from God’s call. Yes, Lord! Yes, Lord; yes, yes, yes! Do not ever quit saying, "Yes Lord!"
Remember, others have gone on before us and have paved the way with their sacrifices and blood. Others have opened the doors through which angels have not known how to walk. It takes the sons of the living God to go there for only they have been given the right.
33[Those] Who by [the help of] faith subdued kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promised blessings, closed the mouths of lions, 34Extinguished the power of raging fire, escaped the devourings of the sword, out of frailty and weakness won strength and became stalwart, even mighty and resistless in battle, routing alien hosts. 35[Some] women received again their dead by a resurrection. Others were tortured to death with clubs, refusing to accept release [offered on the terms of denying their faith], so that they might be resurrected to a better life. 36Others had to suffer the trial of mocking and scourging and even chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned to death; they were lured with tempting offers [to renounce their faith]; they were sawn asunder; they were slaughtered by the sword; [while they were alive] they had to go about wrapped in the skins of sheep and goats, utterly destitute, oppressed, cruelly treated–38[Men] of whom the world was not worthy–roaming over the desolate places and the mountains, and [living] in caves and caverns and holes of the earth.39And all of these, though they won divine approval by [means of] their faith&
You might think these were men and women of long ago, and your assumption would be correct. Yet, they also reflect saints of today who, in the places of their callings, have laid down what others would not. They are people too noble for the world and too lovely for the world to understand. They are those who bled and died, that you might be enlivened with grace to follow in their footsteps.
Grace, lovely, beautiful grace, oh where might thy power be?
It resides in the bosom of thine own dear Son who gave His life for me.
The Son died on the cross that, in His resurrection, He might impart to us the grace of martyrdom to testify of His love for mankind (John 3:16; Acts 1:3,4,8). By love, we follow; and by love, we lay down our lives to take His love into the world that is blind to His glory. We run the risk and hurry down the path of selfless, suffering love so that anyone who can might hear of His great goodness. If it is our mate, our child, or our parent who needs to understand His love, then let them see His love in you, not by might or by force, but, in humility, by the outpouring of His magnanimous love through you. Win the race, dear friends, with His constraining love. Look your enemy in the face and see in him the face of God, as Jacob of old once did. When you can see the face of God in the face of your enemy, you have won Christ!
Where is the love that emboldens abundant life???]? It is in His bosom, pouring out of His heart into yours when you say "No!" to self and "Yes!" to Christ.
You will not find God in places of splendor or in palaces of ivory ~ areas where man serves self-idolatry by indulging in every whim being served by this servant and that as he sits upon his throne, adorned in silken cloth. Rather, you will find Him in the highways and byways of life where pain and suffering await the one clothed in Christ’s love. You will find Him adorned in power and grace to meet your every need.
Seek the higher life. Go where no man has gone before; there you will meet Christ!
Nita LaFond Johnson