Sho Baraka, a gospel rapper, posted something on his site which really ministered to me and I just want to share it with you guys. It is not long so please check it out:
During our last tour (Don’t Waste Your Life ‘09) we had the opportunity to bring our personal commentary to John Piper’s Book of the same title. This blog is my personal commentary on chapter 4 “Magnifying Christ Through Pain and Death”.
When my father passed away, the last thing I wanted to hear was, “He’s in a better place.” I knew this cliché was true but however that didn’t help me with the current struggle of dealing with my father’s death. It goes without saying that he was in a better place. He was in the presence of our LORD, the creator of heaven and earth. He would no longer suffer or feel pain again (Rev 21:4). As much as I felt the hurt of knowing that I would no longer be able to speak to my father, I was just as disappointed and hurt to come to the realization that I would continue to face a variety of pains and sufferings. I couldn’t help but think that one day I would bury my wife and kids or they would bury me. I began thinking that I would possibly face serious persecution of some kind or be stricken with some terminal illness. The scriptures promised that I would face trials and suffering of some kind (James 1:2). The question is, how would I handle those trials and tribulations.
I had to come to the conclusion that pain and suffering is only as painful as we allow it to be. The disciples considered it a pleasure to suffer for the sake of Christ (Acts 5:41). For many of us, our treasures are in the world. So when Jehovah takes away our possessions, health, people or life, we become rocked to the point of depression. I was very close to the tipping point. Its not that Jehovah finds pleasure in seeing his children suffer, but he finds pleasure in his children being conformed to the image of his son (Rom 8:29).
I’ve read over James chapter 1 many times and never before had this text become more real to me than when I was dealing with my father’s death. James teaches us to count it pure joy, because these life issues will bring out the sincerity and fidelity in our faith. Separate the real from the fake.
When I was no longer mastered by my fear of suffering and death, then I was able to excel at living for Christ. We must understand that this shell we live in is temporary (2 Cor 4:7-10). Pain, suffering and death is designed to remind us of that. It’s a necessary means to get the believer to loosen his grip on the world and have an eternal perspective.
What more needs to be said?!