Posted by: philw0410 | October 8, 2010

Glory and Pain

Apologies for not blogging much in the last month. As you can imagine, settling into a new life takes time! One thing I have been freshly aware of in these days of change for us as a family, is the amazing cohabitation of suffering and resurrection that make up our lives. Some things come in pairs. Laurel and Hardy. Crackers and cheese. Wallace and Gromit. Suffering and Resurrection.

Times of experiencing amazing resurrection power, do not mean the cancellation of suffering in this life. Neither do times of suffering, cancel out being able to know resurrection power.

It has always been an interesting historical observation that times and season of spiritual Revival and awakening are also times of great hardship and persecution. Dear John Wesley and George Whitfield are now heralded as great heroes of the faith for what they did during their lifetime, and yet these same men were pilloried by many of their contemporaries at the time, even having dead cats and dogs thrown at them on occasions! The great Revival in China is another example. What stories we hear – the dead being raised, millions converted, incredible miracles, massive missionary passion for Jesus. But alongside this we hear of pastors imprisoned for 20 years or more. Men who have been in hiding and not seen their wives of families for decades, due to the threat on their lives. Resurrection and suffering.

The change of moving our life to Bedford has been one of challenge and breakthrough. There is evidence of both in my life! The challenges for us are obvious – kids finding school very tough, making new friends, the cost of leaving people and a place we loved, many tears and insecurities. It is honestly painful.

And yet, there is breakthrough and blessing at the same time. New friends whom we are growing to love already, a fantastic Church community that is passionate for the  poor, the lost, the broken. A supernatural culture in which miracles are expected. On my second weekend here I saw 3 people healed, one of whom was my daughter, who was instantly healed of a neck spasm! Last week 2 more backs healed, just during the worship time! 49 guests signed up for Alpha. It is glorious.

Glory and pain. Paul says in Philippians 3:10 that he longs to know Christ, and to share in the power of the resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings. My hope in this life is that i will know shafts of resurrection glory breaking in more and more – that cancers shrivel up, that demons flee, that the oppressed get set free, that the Kingdom comes in power.

But my hope is also, and at the same time, that I would know Christ’s fellowship in suffering. That trials and tests would prove my faith genuine, and of greater worth than gold. That trials lead me towards Jesus, not away from him.

The truth is that both resurrection and suffering have the capacity to reveal Jesus, and that is what really counts! Paul’s over-riding passion was this ” I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord ” ( Phil 3:8 )

Friends, do not let trials rob you of expecting Resurrection power. Equally, do not let great breakthrough, rob you of the opportunity for fellowship with Jesus when times are tough. What counts is this – hold onto Jesus!

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Responses

  1. Good stuff Phil. Phil 3:10 is one of my favourites and a prayer that has grown for me and I now pray often- “I want to know Christ”. Fits very much in with your talk last week Phil (which was great btw), faith grows as we pursue relationship with Jesus. Great news about your daughter (Jesus is sooo good)!


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