A few weeks ago I was discussing with my mother what I appreciated about the teaching style of a pastor friend of mine, which led to a discussion of how two people can say basically the same thing, but with one it’s just words, but the other there is life because there is depth behind the words. To this my mother asked, pondering, “What do you think it is that causes that depth?”
I like my parents, because they both really make me think.
After considering for a moment, I replied, “I think it is suffering. Not that the whole world doesn’t suffer, but some people allow the suffering to touch them and transform them.”
Another time recently, a friend wrote me an email to encourage me about something I was going through. The words deeply encouraged me. Why? The brother wrote me from the experience of his own dark nights, and long and weary fight. The words were so beautiful in their truth that I encouraged him to consider writing a book one day.
Or, I could also tell of the friend I spent a week with recently. She is an absolute beautiful lady, a precious gem, but her life has taken her down a road that is currently causing her deep pain. Her pain took me back to experiences I had nearly 20 years ago. We spent the week together in both uproarious laughter and heart-wrenching tears. Was this friend’s suffering a burden to me? No. It is an honor and a privilege to be allowed to enter another’s suffering. To me such a place is like the Holy of Holies. My life is richer for knowing such a woman.
These and other experiences have reminded me lately of a favorite passage in Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest. This passage articulates both my own struggle to express truth, and my appreciation of many of you out there who express truth to me. Sharing Oswald Chamber’s words below is my way of thanking you and encouraging you – some of you are fellow bloggers or writers, some are friends, some are leaders, some are just simple folk who don’t think of themselves as leaders but are. Thank you for struggling to express to me and others the truth God has given you. My life is richer because of it. I hope you know who you are!
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15
If you cannot express yourself on any subject, struggle until you can. If you do not, someone will be the poorer all the days of his life. Struggle to re-express some truth of God to yourself, and God will use that expression to someone else. Go through the winepress of God where the grapes are crushed. You must struggle to get expression experimentally, then there will come a time when that expression will become the very wine of strengthening to someone else; but if you say lazily – “I am not going to struggle to express this thing for myself, I will borrow what I say,” the expression will not only be of no use to you, but of no use to anyone. Try to state to yourself what you feel implicitly to be God’s truth, and you give God a chance to pass it on to someone else through you.
Always make a practice of provoking your own mind to think out what it accepts easily. Our position is not ours until we make it ours by suffering. The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance.