You will know if you have been reading my blogs that I have been reading Meister Eckhart’s writings. Here is some of what I read today in a piece of writing designed to help us to find consolation when we are going through times of suffering. He actually gives seven or eight truths at least to hold on to, but in the midst of all of what he says (which I think needs to be read with care and only makes any sense at all to a person who wants to fully embrace the will of God regardless of cost), he says the following:
“He who was Son of God by nature willed to be man by grace, so that He might suffer for your sake; and you want to become the son (child) of God and not man in order that you may not and need not suffer either for God’s sake or for your own?”
“Saint Paul (or whoever wrote Hebrews!) says that God chastises all those whom He takes and receives as sons. It belongs to being a son that one should also suffer. Because the Son of God could not suffer in His Godhead and in eternity, the heavenly Father sent Him into time so that He should be able to suffer. If, then, you would be like God’s Son and yet not suffer, you are very wrong… It is a sign that the king or a prince trusts a knight well if he sends him into combat.”
Mmm… I think we ned to remember teaching like this in the face of popular and charismatic mantras and jingles such as “God is always good and only does good things,” lest they end up causing people to lose faith rather than grow in faith and to live in fantasy rather than reality. By definition, everything that God does in working our His will in His children is always good. That does not always mean “pleasant.” God uses many things for our good (even the devil, always evil and never good) that can only be called good in relation to the furtherance of a desirable and God glorifying and God honouring purpose. His purpose for us as His children, those He has called and chosen, is very clear in Romans Chapter 8. It is the same for every believer and was unalterably fixed for us before the world was made: we are each predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. As Amy Carmichael asks, “Can they have travelled far who have no wound, no scar?”
If you are saying right now, “But I have never suffered, never suffered for God,” you will. You may have already but are so given over to loving God that you are too humble to recognise your scars. Indeed, for some of you reading this I think I have a word. I know the difference when God is giving me teaching and when he wants me to deliver a specific word for a specific moment. Well, here is a word of that category for some of you:
God wants to help you recognise scars concerning which you have said, “They don’t matter!” The do matter. They are honoured in the sight of God as are you. Notice them with Him and experience His “Well Done’ coming to smile you. and applaud you. What will that feel like experientially by the ministry of the Hoy Spirit within you? Most probably you will experience the tenderest of compassion being poured upon hurts and wounds that start to “feel,” as you start to heal in places where you never fully acknowledged your pain and need of God’s help and delivering touch.