Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In "Other" Words Tuesday - The Heart of True Beauty

I love this quote, given to us by Nina, from Mama's *Little* Treasures.

“To possess true beauty, we must be willing to suffer . . . if Christ Himself was perfected through His sufferings, why would I believe that God would not do the same with me? Women who are stunningly beautiful are women who have had their hearts enlarged by suffering.”
(Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul” by John and Stasi Eldredge)

I was thinking about all that Job had gone through in his suffering. I know he's not a woman, but as he spoke to a woman, his wife, when she encouraged him to curse God and die for his suffering, "He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said." ~ Job 2:10 (NIV)

Just as Job did, we must be willing to accept the trouble, or suffering, in our lives. God can use these sufferings as opportunities for growth. He refines us during times of suffering.

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." ~ 1 Peter 1:6-9 (NIV)

Simply put, when we are refined as fire, we have a choice. We have the potential to be broken and spent, scraping ourselves with clay shards and living life among the ashes. We also have the potential to become beautiful women for God's glory, setting an example for the world to see.

"For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver." ~ Psalm 66:10 (NIV)

Will we come out bitter or beautiful?

Infertilty looms; miscarriage follows.

Will we come out bitter or beautiful?

Cancer ravages our loved ones bodies (or our own).

Will we come out bitter or beautiful?

We lose a child, a sister, a brother, a parent, a friend.

Will we come out bitter or beautiful?

On and on it goes. Suffering is inevitable, and it truly does refine us.

We don't have to like the refining process. It's no fun going through the furnace or through the valley of the shadow of death. It's not a joy to suffer from chronic illnesses and it's hard to find happiness when we watch our loved ones suffer or even die. It hurts.

"For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God." ~ 1 Peter 2:19 (NIV)

The greek word for suffering used in this verse is paschō, which means:

1) to be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a sensible experience, to undergo
a) in a good sense, to be well off, in good case
b) in a bad sense, to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight
1) of a sick person

Will you come out bitter or beautiful?

Just as He did for the Israelites, God longs to give us beauty for our ashes.

"To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory." ~ Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)

Are you willing to become beautiful for Christ? He died to make you so, my friend, and true beauty comes from a heart enlarged by God.
Will you be bitter or beautiful....for Him?

B - Believe God has His best in mind for you.

E - Extend the beauty of your heart to others.

A - Accept that suffering is inevitable and know God will get you through it.

U - Understand that faith is the victory that gets you through the suffering.

T - Try to seek God in prayer with thanksgiving during times of suffering.

Y - Yield to Him, don't resist His refining process.

Please visit Nina, from Mama's *Little* Treasures for more In "Other" Words Tuesdays.


MiPa said...

Lovely post Laurie Ann. Bless you for sharing.

He And Me + 3 said...

In otherwords...I love this post! I am trying to be more like Job.

JesusRulzMe said...

Amen sister! And truly I "see" the beauty of our Savior in you...even through the internet....only Jesus can do that! Praise His name!

Our Sunday School teacher, who's eldest of 7 children went Home a couple of months ago...suddenly, brought up a good point this Sunday. He said, suffering doesn't only make our faith stronger, but it also reveals what our faith is really built on as well. He quoted Jesus in Matthew 7:24-26. And he noted that the trials (the wind and waves) didn't make the foundation strong, but revealed the foundation in which the house was built. And b/c the house was built on a firm foundation, it was able to withstand the storm (making the house stronger, that is, our faith).

I thought that was great additional insight on what suffering does to us. I'm so grateful too!

Oh, I FINALLY rec'd a bloggy award you haven't been given yet...sooooo.....I have one for you over at my place! Be sure to stop by and pick it up! I'm so excited to be able to give you one!

I love you sister,

Esthermay said...

I always enjoy your acronyms. This one is special to me for two reasons: (1) Suffering IS definitely inevitable AND (2) Prayer is the only avenue by which the suffering turns into beauty.

The problem I had with today's quote was the very fact that the words "beauty" and "suffering" in our American English are SO NOT synonomous. YET, spiritually, they ARE! It takes great surrender to a LIVING GOD to turn the suffering into true inner beauty.
Good Thoughts!
~esthermay :-)

Debra said...

Laurie Ann,

Loved it! Please stop by my place...I have something for you.


Cheryl said...

Laurie Ann,

I'll be back in a bit, but wanted to let you know, I have something for you.

It is under the giveaway post!


Homesteader in Training said...

I know you're getting awards left and right but I had to throw this one at you. Please come and get it.
Love you sister.

Denise said...

Such a precious post dear.

Named Alicia said...

Great post, Laurie Ann! I am trying to learn patience in my affliction. Somtimes it isn't always easy. Buy I am leaning on Him to help me through. Thank you for the reminder this evening.