Flowers in the Valley, Part 3

The next lesson the Lord wanted to teach came in the hospital and was reinforced over and over again in the Word over the next few months.

It was this...there are certain things that the Bible says should be hallmarks...identifying characteristics, if you will...of believers in Christ.  Most of us eagerly desire certain hallmarks...like joy and peace.  But the Lord spoke directly to my heart that there is another that we as [Western] believers do everything in our power to avoid...suffering.  I know I do.

As I sat in my hospital bed praying about all that had transpired in a short time, two verses came to mind.

The first was 2 Timothy 3:12:   Indeed all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Suffering...assaults from the enemy...are promised to those who love the Lord.  Not as punishment...but as evidence that we are HIS.  As Jesus suffered, so must those who are called by His name.

As I sat and processed this, a second verse Acts 5:40-41 became my response.  
They called the apostles in and had them flogged.  Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

The Lord spoke to my heart...these trials are proof-positive of My love for you and your love for Me.  It is a pre-cursor of the "well done, good and faithful servant" which I long to hear.

This third flower in the Valley of the Shadow brought perspective to the back-to-back trials.  It did not lessen the pain, but brought joy (different from happiness) to know that my God had counted me worthy to suffer for His name.

And that meant He had a purpose and plan for this suffering.  I knew it meant He would somehow receive glory, honor, and praise and that I would grow in my love and knowledge of Him.

In Him,

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