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A THEOLOGY OF SUFFERING

 

             Alas I’ve found some room to breath, and write. It’s been about six months since I moved out west, and just this past weekend I moved for the 6th time. Floating around Los Angeles and the OC has been very draining while working for dco.  Needless to say,  moving to California has been a whirlwind and probably one of the most volatile journeys I’ve gone on in awhile.  Yet, it’s also been one of the most stretching learning experiences I’ve ever had; lessons I know that no school or ministry could ever teach me.
             When preparing to leave, I could remember the cloud of excitement that accumulated from myself and everyone around me. “HOPE”, “BREAKTHROUGH” and “FINALLY!!!”  would be the commentary over my preparation. Prophetic words spoken over me that never made sense all these years, became frighteningly lucid. More importantly, a growing void in my heart was once again filled with a familiar faith I knew all too well; the same faith that convinced me to quit my job on the trading floor; the same faith that gave me strength to endure in the many hard battles we fought for the Kingdom.       
             With these elements, it’s a no-brainer to expect nothing less than peace and glory in the follow through. Knowing it’s God, provides this nebulous comfort, an ethereal phenomenon that your life has divine purpose. It lays out a trajectory that will end beyond a joy you could ever fathom. In essence, it was a concoction of unbridled hope, waiting to be tamed with every step of faith I took.  I’ve arrived, and the days of uncertainty in the desert were bound to be over; or so I thought.      
             Unfortunately these aren’t the ways of God; never has been. But thankfully, it’s because He’s committed to us more than we can fathom.       
             At face value, I can gather from my friends and colleagues that my evolving journey is exciting (and by that I am very humbled). But the reality I am living is quite the opposite, and is revealing a more sobering truth about myself and my God. These open doors to LA made me feel special, chosen and heard by God, but for all the wrong reasons. This wasn’t a door of opportunity for me, but rather it was a door of opportunity for Him - a chance for God to freely mold me and school me in a way He’s never done before.       
             I am quickly learning first hand, that He is more committed to forging overcomers than just getting me to a destination in life. To cut to the chase, with a coke and a smile at hand,  I can say my time in Los Angeles has been hard as hell. But in His grace, God has constantly reminded me that He has never done it any other way to produce servants in His Kingdom.
            Noah had his 100 years of ridicule, building a boat for a natural phenomenon that had never existed. Joseph, was prophesied his leadership in dreams,  only to be sold into slavery with added years of betrayal and imprisonment. David, was anointed by the nations Prophet as King at 15, but endured 23 years of hardship and a life as a fugitive before becoming the King of a United Israel. Daniel, faced the loss of his family and country from Babylon, a pre-modern ISIS, and forcefully endured the pagan culture while becoming one of the greatest culture catalysts of our faith. And more importantly Jesus, our suffering servant endured the greatest pain, for the greatest gift of mankind.
            Every servant used and entrusted by God went through a journey of fire. And in these very fires, is where their callings and the chracter to carry them out, were truly born and crystallized. All of them had an opportunity to quit, to curse God and run away, but they continued to worship, behold, and trust His faithfulness till the end. And without fail, God has always proven to be greater than any suffering they endured.       
             They say one of the greatest mysteries in God’s natural order is the metamorphosis of a butterfly. They’ve discovered within the chrysalis of it’s metamorphic state, the DNA of the caterpillar completely changes to become a butterfly. If you open it too early, scientists have been disappointed to see nothing but a soupy and confusing mess. But with patience, you will witness one of the most unassuming creatures evolve into a beautiful creation. In the Kingdom, I’ve found peace to know that at every crossroad I continue to trust Him, God is embracing me in my own spiritual Chrysalis. And in due time I’ll be released into a new creation, tested, tried, and true. 
             So this is for all those who have faced hardships I could never imagine nor understand. Whether it’s loss, hopeless family situations, or rejection - hold on. Hold on to His faithfulness. Hold on to the truth that He is more committed to us, than we are to ourselves. Every obstacle, is an opportunity to be layered in God’s Chrysalis; an opportunity to say Yes to God’s dream for us, to take heart, and suffer well. No pain has ever gone unnoticed and He will make all things work together for your Good. He is making all things new in you. I promise. 

Love you all more than you know, 

Jasen