Sunday, October 13, 2013

Compassion Wears Pink: The Power of Shared Suffering

A firefighter in a pink firetruck wearing a pink fire suit? I never thought I'd see it. But that's what I saw this week in a TV interview with Josh Baker of Pink Heals and Liesa Miles, a beloved Spanish teacher. The interview aired on The Good Life and can be viewed here.

Most of us call her Profe (short for professor), a perfect name for one whose life is a lesson in strength, courage, and faith. She is our Profe!

When asked by Barbara Beck what she tells her two sons and husband about not knowing what the future holds while battling breast cancer, here's some of what Profe had to say:

"Know that you must rest on Scripture. We've never been promised easy, we've never been promised health.... In fact, quite the opposite ... we will have times of trouble, and those are the times when we persevere and we get stronger and we grow. And it is our job to bring attention to God during those times."

This inspiring woman of faith has kept her sense of humor, radiance, and joy while walking a tough path. She jokes, "I'm not a girly girl and that is the joke, that God sent me breast cancer so I'd have to wear pink." 

Profe reminds me of my mother, who walked through the challenge of breast cancer with courage, grace, and dignity, never losing her joy or her selflessness. Her example and legacy still impact my life. More than twenty years later, she continues to inspire all who knew her.

This resemblance is precisely why Profe is in my heart so strongly. I can see my mother's love, strength, and integrity in her. I also love seeing how she allows God to use her to strengthen others through her suffering. That is a tremendous gift.

I've come to understand something powerful about healing, compassion, and our bond as human beings. There truly is a purpose in suffering, and this realization transforms the experience into something helpful and even hopeful. Redemption is possible. In fact, with Christ in our lives, redemption is our destiny. For "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

I leave you with some verses that help us understand the purpose of suffering a little bit better. I am thankful for people like Profe and my mother who help us learn to suffer with grace, faith, humor, dignity, and purpose. Thank You, Lord, for blessing my life with people like them.

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 
Romans 8:17-18

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings.
Philippians 3:10 

Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.
Colossians 1:24 

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 
Romans 5:1-4

“I have told you these things, so that in me (Jesus) you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 

God's ways are the path of life. May we rest on His promises and follow only Him, the source of strength, hope, and life.

In Hope,
Dr Mari 

For more inspiration, see Living on Mission: What's That All About? 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

From My Heart to Yours: A Prayer and A Song

Here's the cry of my heart as I continue to intercede for so many people I love who are suffering or in the midst of great spiritual battles. My prayer is that your minds will be renewed with God's Word, that every lie will be drowned out by the Truth, grace, and life found on every page of God's holy Word.

During times of great need, my prayers get so simple. Invariably, in that simplicity, I meet God. I am found. And in His presence, I am healed. May this be your experience as you call on Him and seek His face.

I pray for all of you in the words of Paul, a man transformed by the love of Christ,

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. 
(Ephesians 3:14-21)

I invite you to meditate on every verse in this passage from Ephesians, to read it several times today and every day for a season and reflect deeply on its truth and hope. Let it renew your mind and give you a fresh start that fans into flame the gift of your faith in Christ.

And may this song help you as you pray and trust.

Be still and know that I am God. 
(Psalm 46:10)

Be still.
Dr Mari

Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. 
No one comes to the Father except through Me.'
(John 14:6) 

'No weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from Me,'
declares the Lord.
(Isaiah 54:17) 

For more inspiration, read Trust: A Pathway to Peace