But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place-unless you repent. Rev.2:4-5.
It is better to go to a house of mourning than to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for when a face is sad a heart may be happy. Ecc.7:3-4.
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. 2Cor.4:16-17.
That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death..Phil.3:10.
In God’s economy, our suffering and sorrow is a good thing for us who are His, because He uses it for our good (Rom.8:28), and what eventually results is more joy than we ever could have dreamed of before, and the eternal glory that will come is beyond our comprehension.
I suffered a little bit growing up, and the Lord used that in His seeking and finding me, and bringing me unto Himself. But it was nothing compared to the suffering I went through after I was in Christ. This was God’s “wonderful plan for my life”! Now, I am grateful beyond words for the suffering He brought me through, because He used it for my good, because He loves me, and wanted to teach me, discipline me, change me, purify me, and bring me to a place with Him that I had not been to before, that is, real love and intimacy with Him, like I had never known before.
I was loving the world. That had to go. I was loving my stuff, my status, my future (materialistic, successful, comfortable) life in this world. That had to go. I was putting my trust in things in this life, things of the flesh. That had to go. I was putting my hope in things in this world. That had to go. I had spiritual pride. That had to go. I was very fearful. That had to go. I loved my life more than Jesus. I was lying to myself, pretending that was not true. That had to go. I loved my life more than other people. That had to go. I had lost my first love.
Jesus, the One I loved, was replaced in my heart by all this stuff. I was useless to Him in this condition. Jesus had a plan to get rid of all these things, because He loved me. He loved me enough to bring me back to Him, and He did it through suffering.
Deep, intense, emotional suffering brought on through trials. Trials I never thought I would ever suffer. He used these trials and the suffering like a fire to burn away the things He did not want in my life, and to strengthen the things that remained, and to bring me close to Him. He brought me to my knees before Him in total desperation. He brought me to repentance and surrender and real trust in Him. He taught me to abide in Him no matter what was happening.
He purged out these sins and the dross, and refined what pleased Him, and taught me, so I know withought a doubt, that I need not fear, that He is with me no matter what happens, that I am safe in Him, and that relationship with Him, trusting Him, and doing His will are all that matters. He replaced my happiness in this world, with deep joy in Him, and with a longing for His return, and eternity with Him. He did not take my lampstand away(my usefulness); He made it burn hotter and brighter because He brought me into repentance, by His loving kindness. He brought me back to my first love, to Himself, because He loves me. If more suffering comes, I know that it is just Him working in my life. I am forever grateful for this and I love Him more than before I suffered. Praise the name of Jesus.