Suffering On Display

I want to recount for you a scene at Valley Forge. This comes from the book, “The Light and the Glory: Did God have a plan for America?” There had been a famine in the camp. The men were naked and starving. The distress for want of provisions was more than you and I could possibly conceive.


One day a Quaker man heard a voice near a grove of trees. He went to investigate. There was General George Washington on his knees in prayer. The authors told how, because of Washington’s belief that God would deliver them, the men endured their hardship. 2 Timothy 2:3 says, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”


We are being watched. I love to read autobiographies. Why? I want to watch how others have handled their suffering. I told you about Amy Carmichael yesterday. She never left her cot. Any movement of her foot intensified her pain. She had to be attended to for the rest of her life. Yet, in her suffering, she wrote hope and encouragement. Her written words are like soothing oil to the open wounds of discouragement. 


We are called to suffer. Here is an aspect of suffering that continually amazes me. We are on display by God’s design. Ephesians 3:10 says, “To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.” 


Let me review some truths. Ephesians 1:21 says that Jesus is seated, “Far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” Colossians 1:16 says, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”


The Lord is our Lord who is Lord Over All. In His infinite wisdom, He is using His church to display His manifold wisdom to a captive audience. When I think of the word ‘manifold’ I picture my kaleidoscope. It kept me fascinated. I only had to turn it a tiny bit, and there was a whole new scene.

Here is the Strong’s definition for manifold: much, varied, many colored. We are unique in our suffering. There is no one experiencing exactly what we are going through. It may be the same type of circumstance, but we are individuals. Even if you and I were going through, say, a financial crisis, it would still be different because of our backgrounds. 


Our take away in this is that God knows every nuance-experience in our lives from the womb to when we die. He uses our uniqueness to display another aspect of His many colored, immensely variegated wisdom to gain glory over our enemy. We are created for His glory. Somehow, in His manifold wisdom, He uses His children to accomplish His purpose in creating those watching us: spirits, believers, and unbelievers. 

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