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The Great Sculptor

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As I counsel hurting believers week after week, pain is often the common denominator in their lives. Why does God allow pain and suffering in the life of the believer? In reading, “When God Weeps” by Joni Eareckson Tada, I found several reasons why we go through suffering. I would like to share some of her thoughts with you.

Hebrews 5:7-9 states, “…although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what he suffered and made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.” This is good news for the suffering soul. The Son of God did not exempt Himself from affliction but lived through it and learned from it. Once the process is complete, He became the source of help for all who obey Him.  Should we suffer? “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.” (Matt. 10:24-25)

Suffering fashions us into a “holy and blameless” image of Christ. (Eph.1:4) much like a figure sculpted out of marble. An artist in Florence, Italy once asked the great Renaissance sculptor Michaelangelo what he saw when he approached a huge block of marble. “I see a beautiful form trapped inside.” he replied. “and it is simply my responsibility to take my mallet and chisel and chip away until the figure is set free.”

The beautiful form, the visible expression of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” is inside Christians like a possibility, a potential. The idea is there, and God uses affliction like the hammer and chisel, chipping and cutting to reveal His image in you. God chooses as His model His Son, Jesus Christ. “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.” (Rom. 8:29)

God continues to chisel, chipping more away. “To keep me from becoming conceited…there was given me a thorn in the flesh.” (2Cor.12:7)  God works deeper, carefully fashioning every hidden crevice, even our temperament: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who…made Himself…nothing He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on the cross!” (Phil. 2:5-8)

God uses suffering to purge sin from our lives, strengthen our commitment to Him, force us to depend on grace, bind us together with other believers, produce discernment, foster sensitivity, discipline our minds, spend our time wisely, stretch our hope, cause us to know Christ better, make us long for truth, lead us to repentance of sin, teach us to give thanks in times of sorrow, increase faith, and strengthen character. It’s a beautiful image!

And it’s an image like no other. When Christ is unveiled in me, it’s a unique sculpture. It’s what patience, self-control, endurance, gentleness, kindness, as well as a healthy hatred of sin, looks like on “Joni.” That’s different than the way sensitivity and self-control look on my husband or anyone else. My particular affliction is divinely hand-tailored expressly for me.

Yielding to the chisel is “learning obedience from what we suffer.” Our circumstances don’t change; we change. The “who” of who we are is transformed, like a form unfolding, into His likeness with ever-increasing glory. “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2Cor. 3:16-18)

I cannot afford to focus on the hammer and chisel. I cannot look around me and bemoan what God is chipping away. Turn your focus on Him, trusting that He will never cut or gouge too deeply. God is not a casual or capricious Sculptor. “For I know the plans I have for you, ‘ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11)

James Eubanks – Grace Ministries

Angels by Grace -June 1998

~~~~~

http://www.elahministries.com

http://www.suespen2paper.com

http://www.facebook.com/elahministries

elah501c@bellsouth.net

Blessings to you.

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About Sue Cass

I am a follower of Jesus Christ and an abuse survivor. I am the founder & C.E.O. of Elah Ministries, Inc. A non-profit 501c3 ministry that offers hope, healing, and deliverance to hurting souls. Elah Ministries, Inc. is supported strictly by donations and the proceeds from the sale of my seven published books; both fiction and non-fiction. I hope this ministry and my book draws people closer to our Lord Jesus Christ.

6 responses »

  1. Reblogged this on Sue's pen2paperblog and commented:
    This is an article that a counselor wrote for the Angels by Grace magazine I used to publish. It answers the age old question of why God allows us to suffer. I pray it brings light into some darkness in this area of our understanding.

    Reply
  2. I struggle with this message and dont quite agree. Ive read Joni’s book and she has this concept that God was behind what happened to her and its the call on her life to suffer like this. I dont agree with that at all…its sin in the world that causes suffering it isnt God. What kind of bully does that? Its mans will and his sin. God sent Christ to conquer sin and make a way to God. Its His kindness that brings us to repentance…healing …suffering causes us to come to God…but its not His will and He isnt the author of the suffering.
    If you put someone elses name instead of Gods ….and said so and so beat and caused alkinds of suffering upon someone…for there good….what would you say? Thats abuse and get the hell out of there. God isnt the Author of suffering ….its the devil ….Christ was sent rescue us from what the sin has caused. We still suffer because of others sin…and our ignorance.

    Reply
    • Hi Nessa3:
      I have not read Joni’s book. Sin, from Adam and Eve on, is the cause for suffering, not God. He allows it and hopefully we draw near to God through our suffering. Sadly, many will blame God and turn away from Him. Our choice. I do know God will “chip away” those things we need to shed but I don’t believe He makes us sick, makes us sin so we’ll draw closer to Him. Maybe James Eubanks, the author of the article, was disagreeing with Joni by giving us scriptural reasons for suffering and trials. It does one thing, it makes us think about it and possibly seek God for the answers. The Lord has told me at times I will not know all things under the sun. This might be one of those things we may never truly understand. Thanks so much for your comment. I totally agree with you.

      Reply
  3. Hi! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Thanks

    Reply

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