Written by Natalie, Editress of Visionary Womanhood
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18
I’m betting 99% of you have suffered deeply at least once in your lifetime. And I’m betting 100% of you will suffer deeply at least once more before you die. We are broken, and we live in a broken world. Suffering is an inevitable part of that mix, so we are going to take a long, hard look at this difficult subject all month.
If your life is going well right now and you don’t want to expose yourself to pain, I get that. Tuck this series in the back of your mind and come back later…when things get tough. It will be here to instruct, encourage, and hold your hand in the dark.
Many years ago I read a book on this subject called Making Sense of Life by Seeing the World From Heaven’s View: God Bringing His Children to Glory by T.W. Hunt and Melana Hunt Monroe. This book explores how we can learn to view suffering from God’s point of view so that we can experience the truths in James 1:2: “Consider it all JOY my brethren, when you encounter various trials,” and I Corinthians 7:4: “I am overflowing with JOY in all our affliction.”
…we have a role in developing the degree of nobility we will eternally retain. The principle underlying the growth of nobility is that the more rigorous our training, the higher our nobility will eventually be if we utilize the opportunities in our training.
The higher glory achieved through our training of suffering can be reached by no other route. We attain to the resurrection through the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings (Philippians 3:10). From Heaven’s view, the joy there is worth whatever suffering we go through here: “For the JOY set before Him, [Jesus] endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2).
“We also EXULT in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts” (Romans 5:3-5).
The contrast is grander than comparing grains of sand to storehouses of diamonds. Suffering exposes us to the reality of ultimate worth: the highest joy in suffering is that through it, we become conformed to Jesus’ character.
The goal of Visionary Womanhood is to help women see all of life from God’s perspective. Here is what that means: (The following is also taken from Heaven’s View.)
- Seeing from Heaven’s view means recognizing each big and little detail of my life–my relationships, my dreams, my frustrations, my hurts, my ambitions, my secrets, my fears, my lusts, and my loves–from God’s perspective, and ultimately with His understanding of their value.
- Seeing from Heaven’s view means understanding His specific reason for creating me, and therefore my ultimate purpose in life.
- Seeing from Heaven’s view means knowing God in a way that He designed me to know Him. With this perspective, my prayer and worship begin to mirror the beauty of holiness continuous in heaven.
- Seeing from Heaven’s view means that God’s loves and griefs become my own, and therefore my own priority.
- Seeing from Heaven’s view gives me God’s value on and purpose for the thousands of minutes and hours that make up the long process of bringing me to glory.
- Seeing from Heaven’s view helps me seize with fervency the importance of every person in my sphere and makes me realize my personal need for each one. Holy humility is inevitable when we see others from Heaven’s view.
- Seeing from Heaven’s view opens my understanding to perceive suffering from inside His heart. As I grow to understand what endurance accomplishes within my spirit, I eventually treasure trials because of what they produce in me.
- Seeing from Heaven’s view enables me to view Satan, sin, and temptation in the way He sees them, and gives me tremendous motivation to hate wickedness. This results in much greater faith and greater ability to flee from or withstand temptation.
- Seeing from Heaven’s view enables me to regard death with the same joyful anticipation that He has in contemplating our “Graduation Day.” Death can become precious to us as the pathway to glory in the same way that our death is precious to Him (Psalm 116:15).