Friday, December 4, 2009


Jodina suffered the other day. Monday to be exact. And I heard all about it as we walked Tuesday morning. I have her permission to tell you her story.

You see, she's been in the process of remodeling her master suite. And at the beginning of the remodel, she'd asked the builders to be through by Thanksgiving. That didn't happen. But she had the end in sight before Thanksgiving, so she didn't complain. She knew the carpet was going to be layed this past Tuesday, so she had her mom come over and help her get everything ready Monday. They worked like crazy to get it done. She called the carpet people to verify the time they were coming....and then it happened. She found out they weren't coming for another week...and they hadn't called to let her know. That poor carpet girl didn't know what hit her. The Brock temper exploded. (Brock is Jodina's maiden name. You would love this family!!)

Now you might not call this suffering. (Not getting your carpet on time.) But we're calling it that after much consideration. And let me say at the outset that we don't put this type of suffering even close to the same level as losing a loved one! That is a whole different level of suffering. But let me define suffering for you according to Websters online dictionary.

–verb (used without object)
to undergo or feel pain or distress: The patient is still suffering.
to sustain injury, disadvantage, or loss: One's health suffers from overwork. The business suffers from lack of capital.
to undergo a penalty, as of death: The traitor was made to suffer on the gallows.
to endure pain, disability, death, etc., patiently or willingly.

You see? Jodina felt pain and distress over not getting her carpet on time. She suffered. We can't change what we can't identify. But once we understand the Truth, it can set us free. Once you determine that what you are experiencing is "suffering," you can acknowledge it and allow it to transform you. And I think you can see the levels of suffering even in Webster's mind as each definition becomes more intense.

But let me tell you in what way Jodina really suffered. Her flesh suffered. Her flesh wanted carpet on time! Her flesh rose up to demand it's own way. She had expectations of how this thing was going to play out because she'd made plans ahead of time. She'd told her builder to be finished by Thanksgiving. (And she handled that disappointment with finesse!) And her carpet man had given her a date for laying the carpet. And so many things hinged on her getting that carpet down--things like moving her furniture back into the room and getting to sleep in her own bed again! Her flesh suffered and she reacted. In fact, in Jodina's words, "I almost used my anger to be manipulative--to get my own way." She really wanted to take her anger to a whole new plane. That's what flesh does best.

This is suffering on the day-to-day level. And we all suffer at this degree, whether we've ever identified it as such or not. And you know why our flesh is suffering? Because God is wanting us to get our flesh on the altar and kill it sacrificially altogether. Dying flesh hurts. It cries out in pain. It wants to get off the altar. God's desire is for us to walk in the spirit and not the flesh. He's also told us to expect suffering and to rejoice in it. Read I Peter 4:12-13. Because if you have God's perspective on this, you know when you're dying to your flesh, you are being changed into Christ's image---GLORY HALLELUJAH!

And like Jodina, we have a choice of what to do when suffering comes. We can submit to God, (knowing His plan is good and He is all powerful) while sacrificing our flesh and walking in the Spirit. Or we can live in the flesh, having expectations and demanding our own way--and never changing.

Jodina got alone with God and wrestled this out. She decided to put her flesh on the altar and kill it. Her carpet didn't magically appear--she's still waiting. But now she's believing that God had a better plan all along. He wanted to teach her about suffering.

1 comment:

amy wright said...

I "suffer" every day as a parent. Maybe if I imagine killing my flesh every day, I'll have a better attitude. :)

I wish I could have been in on the conversation with Jodina and the carpet lady. haha