Friday, April 25, 2008

Worthy Sacrifice

One of the toughest things about grief is that it is a narcissistic experience. It consumes you with you. I find this to be a most exhausting experience. If I don’t remain conscious of others in pain, I will think, "I alone am abandoned in my suffering." In fact I am not alone—even if my grief is unique by the standards of others. Even if your experience terrifies others as they look at you as Eliphaz the Temanite must have looked a Job, you are not alone.

Grief gives you few options. The pain of it makes you think of little else but your hurt. In the midst of this pain and consuming focus there is, however, a hopeful option. We can offer our grief and suffering to the Lord as a sacrifice. Psalm 51:17 says: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise" (NIV).

As an act of worship, intelligent and thoughtful, we offer back to Him that which consumes us as a sacrifice of praise. This is not appeasement of deity; it is, however, a releasing of control and surrender to His utter goodness. Which you may doubt more at this moment than ever. Our reason to give it to Him is that He alone can transform it for His glory. 1Cor. 7:17 reminds us: "Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And thus I direct in all the churches" (NAS). We actually have a stewardship of our suffering. We are responsible to use it for a platform or a dark backdrop that reveals His glorious grace. People watch at the moments of our extreme suffering like at no other time. The world asks a collective question that seldom passes their lips but never leaves their thinking: "Is Jesus real?"

Yes He is real! He is real in my life, my joy and in my heartache. He may not be the god I want, but He is the God who is. I surrender to Him and trust, and in this He is glorified. David's words haunt me: “For I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing” (2 Samuel 24:24).

Ed Litton

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's so wonderful to think about a shepherd that loves us little sheep so! We surely do not understand, but we must turst that He is "THE I AM" we are to abide in HIM and trust HIM alone! When we are at the complete end of ourselves: that's when He will take over for us, He becomes our strength, He is attracted by our weakness, it's His opportunity to fill us with more and more of His Perfect Love that casts out all fear! & we get more of HIS POWER. He desires all of us, all we have to give HIM...SO, the more that we empty ourselves, the more space He has to fill with His Love....
Bless You! L.

AROBLEY said...

HEY PASTOR! I HAVE NEVER THOUGHT OF OFFERING MY GRIEF AS A SACRIFICE TO GOD. I AM STRUGGLING WITH WORRY AND YOU ARE AN ENCOURAGING EXAMPLE OF TRUSTING IN GOD FOR HE IS ALL WE HAVE AND ALL WE'LL EVER NEED. I LOVE YOU AND THANK GOD FOR YOUR HONEST LEADERSHIP. ALLISON CALLAN ROBLEY