Every day, common people are doing extraordinary things, & inspiring the people in their lives. Do you know some heroes already that visit the sick, who serve as volunteers in soup kitchens, who go to third world countries to help w/out pay? You may be one of these people, or perhaps you know someone like this. The catalyst for doing this post was several people of late who have told me they are discouraged. Some hope that I can say something inspiring…we’ll see what I can do with this post.
My first thought when someone says they are discouraged/bored/weary of life is that they need to experience the excitement & fulfillment of doing God’s calling on their life. So often we fail to see that our disadvantages & suffering actually can be the doorway to success. Have you seen the motivational speaker (Nick Vujicic) who was born with no legs & arms!?? He is truly an inspiring Christian man. No one can use the excuse that they have problems after you’ve heard him speak. Once when he was flying he went to the front of the plane to address all passengers. A normal person would never be allowed to talk to all of the passengers just because he wanted to, but his lack of legs & arms and his inspiring joy & humor give him a free ticket to do many things the rest of us would never be allowed, plus it makes his motivational talks incredible. He is inspiring people all over the world! In a similar way, a teenage Canadian boy (Terry Fox) who lost a leg to cancer inspired people in a fund raiser marathon by running halfway across Canada w/ one real & one artificial leg. It would be nearly impossible to have had more things stacked against a person than Nick Vujicic. I also know people who have had spunk & joy during their suffering that ended up making a big inspirational positive difference in the lives of those near them. Their suffering became their means of communicating hope & purpose in life.
O.K. so God has shown you some promises & visions, but hasn’t done anything. God’s large promises begin with small beginnings. Abraham was promised a big piece of land & to be the father of many nations. At one point, he had to haggle w/ the Hittites for a small parcel of land, & he only had one son. There was no sign of God, or the fulfillment of God’s promises, but Abraham in faith moved forward & made his minor contribution—God wants us to join with Him, and He eventually does fulfill it, so don’t desist from moving forward, even if you are not going to complete much, because it lines your will up with God’s vision. And as you probably know, when we begin a project, oftentimes we gain energy as we go along. A parked car is locked up, a moving car can be steered. So move forward.
I believe part of people’s discouragement stems from them not realizing what makes a hero in Christ’s eyes! They think having great faith, or being a great evangelist, or being a minister of a large church, or getting honored by one’s denomination or church makes you a hero. By & large, people’s mistaken ideas of what makes a person of God a hero…is part of the reason they don’t realize they may be far more of a hero than they realize. Let’s explore this…
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” JN 13:35. Christ then expands on this by teaching that this love is unselfish (MT 22:39) & self-sacrificing (JN 15:13). “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” (MT 23:11, also MT 20:26) So we have sacrifice, selflessness, service & sympathetic love, these are benchmarks of a hero…but wait!… there is one other benchmark of greatness in the God’s kingdom…last but not least….suffering! Before you shut your mind, allow me to say that from the Scriptures it shows that essentially all of your suffering (except what comes as a consequence of your bad/sinful choices) is used by God to determine who is a spiritual hero. The Word talks about suffering from: poverty, persecution, personal tragedy, natural disasters, long term illness, and loss from war as raising your image in God’s eyes!! Your suffering becomes a doorway not just to ministry but also to be a spiritual hero. I’ll share a few of many Bible verses that convey this:
“And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” ACT 5:51 (See also ACTS 9:15-16)
“…so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience & faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer…” 2 THS 1:5
“…if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” ROM 8:17
If you want to read an entire chapter devoted to the subject of suffering for God read 1 PTR 4.
In Luke 16, there is the story of the beggar with sores (poverty & poor health). In LK 16:25, the beggar was given great things in the future life because of the suffering he had endured.
Have you suffered poor health, poverty, persecution, or personal tragedy??? If you didn’t curse God when it happened, the testing of you has increased your status as a hero with your Creator! While you may have thought only of the loss side of the equation, you were gaining spiritually on the other side.