How Much Do You Want to Know?

 

Know Christ

Which part(s) of this statement do you most identify as a follower of Christ?

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…. Philippians 3:10 NIV

Is it…

I want to know Christ.

I want to know the power of his resurrection.

I want to know the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings.

Or how about, I want to become like him in his death….

For me, as I meditate upon these words and consider both the invitation of intimacy and mysterious wonder, I want it all. How is it possible to know Christ, the power of his resurrection, the fellowship of his suffering and become like him in. his. death?

Throughout my cancer journey of surgery, radiation treatments and more, I often wondered if my physical suffering counted for the cause of Christ. In fact, as I considered my physical, emotional, mental, and even, spiritual pains, I wondered if they would lead me to a greater understanding of the fellowship of sharing in the suffering of my Savior.

Back then, I had people all over the world praying for me. It seems that a missionary with cancer goes to the top of everyone’s prayer lists. It was humbling. Very humbling. Please don’t get me wrong about writing about this phenomenon. I am grateful for the prayers of everyone who decided to add me to their prayer lists that year. I believe my healing was helped by every. single. prayer. And in all honesty, I may need such prayers again if cancer ever decides to revisit.

I believe that these prayers were fellowship prayers. People I never knew and would never meet decided to identify with me and pray for my health. This outpouring of love came through the channels of a cancer diagnosis. This fellowship arose from the far reaches of the earth to join in my suffering and to lift me up. That is true power. That is amazing love. That is something beyond my understanding. That is the abounding grace and tender mercy of my God.

And yet, did my cancer bring me into closer fellowship with my Savior and his suffering?

So often, we take something that happens in our lives, whether cancer, a broken relationship, a betrayal, a loss of career, a wayward child, a failure or embarrassment, or any other type of difficult circumstance and choose to focus solely upon the pain and suffering we experience. We make our problems about us; not God. We fail to identify our suffering with the suffering of Christ. Yet, the very pain, loss, failure, betrayal, or physical and emotional injury we endure has the potential to draw us closer to Jesus and his suffering fellowship.

Remember all those people who chose to pray for me when I had cancer? I bet many of them had either experienced cancer themselves or loved some one who had. On top of that, since I am far away from home and am some one’s daughter, wife, mother and friend, people could also identify with those who remained far away and could not be physically present to help me. What could they do? They could pray. And they did.

For me to grow even closer to my Savior, it was cancer, this time.

In the future, my suffering or other life experiences may be something entirely different.

For you, it could be any number of things that have brought pain and difficulty and yes, suffering. Did they bring you closer to Christ and into a deeper fellowship with Him?

We have suffered.

We are suffering.

We will suffer.

In such times, we are offered a mysterious and intimate gift of fellowship, love and care in Christ. This gift of fellowship comes in times of great need. We are surrounded by His tender mercies, His loving compassion, His all-consuming Presence and not only the prayers of His people but the prayers of Jesus Christ, Himself.

For no one else, understands the depth of our need and our pain like Jesus; even if they’ve gone through a similar experience. For my cancer experience was my cancer experience. It wasn’t like any one else’s I know. It was mine. Just as any other of my experiences in my life and yours as well. We each have our own path to walk with Christ in order to know Him and know His power, His suffering and to become like Him. There is fellowship in the experience that may bring us closer to one another if we choose or have the opportunity. However, ultimately this suffering has the power to bring us even closer to Christ in a deeply intimate and meaningful way.

We may never have anticipated or asked for the difficulty that has made its way into our lives. Yet, it may be the very gift that we must open to know Christ more, understand His power, rest in His fellowship, and identify with His death by dying to ourselves.

So, how much do you want to know of Christ…even if it involves something difficult?

I want to know Christ.

I want to know the power of his resurrection.

I want to know the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings.

I want to become like him in his death….

Or do you want to receive it all; the mysterious, wondrous, intimate gift of Jesus Christ and the fellowship shared in His suffering, His power, and His life?

How much of Jesus do you want to know?

 

Photo by Calvary Simpsonville of Flickr

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