I think suffering is an advantage, because it aligns your hope. I was reading 1 Corinthians 13. I was reading it because I LONG to LOVE the way Jesus loved. I got to verse 13 and God revealed a beautiful "rhema" to my heart.
1 Corinthians 13:13
But now we still have faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.My experience in life has been insular with "Christian" people. As I have known them, most all of them have had their faith in Christ. Their forward looking truth has been in the promise of salvation. The faith leads them to a righteousness that is modeled in Christ, the apostles, and the heroes of faith. However their faith, is as far as their walk with Christ ever goes. I have struggled to love like Christ, because I have placed only my faith in him.
My hope, and the hopes of those I have known, are not placed in Christ. My hope is placed in my wife, my family, and my job. I hope to have a happy marriage. I hope to have children who are obedient responsible members of society. I hope to be making $150K a year. My hope, or "my treasures" as Christ also calls them, are stored up here on earth.
God spoke to me in that verse and opened my eyes to the fact that I could not achieve the "greatest of these" so long as my hope was still placed in carnal accomplishments. I could not embrace the power of agape love so long as I was the center of my treasure. As I have been busy building my kingdom, I have been unable to become like the King of the eternal kingdom.
As I begin this process of moving my HOPE to Christ. I begin to understand 3 very important truths.
1. Faith is the substance of things hoped for (Heb 11:1)- My faith takes on new dimensions with each day that I move more hope to His Kingdom rather than my kingdom.
2. There is Nowhere to Go, since only Christ has the words of life (John 6:68)- The comings and goings of this life make more sense when I hold on to the only direction that bears life.
3. Abundant Life is a good thing (John 10:10) - The saints of the persecution and the heroes of awesome faith like George Muller and Mother Theresa are marked by their embrace of abundant life. Their hope being placed in Christ's kingdom allowed them to understand that physical peace and economic comfort were mere shadows of the Abundance that was promised.
My grandfather was right. No matter what mankind takes, when our HOPE is in the KINGDOM OF GOD, when we understand that he is making all things NEW! That is the kind of HOPE I want to have!
There Is A Reason