Do you find yourself praying to share in the sufferings of Christ?
I don’t. I pray my way out of them. “LORD, I screwed up my budget again…can you please help me?"
"God, please don’t take this list of people from me ever.”
“Jesus, I feel stuck. So stuck and lost. Please give me purpose.”
“Oh, LORD, please let me be noticed. I want to be seen and I want to be known.”
But to be made more like Him, we must share in his sufferings. Christ is called the Man of Sorrows, is he not? And we are asking to be made more like him, to reflect him and his image. We ask to be sanctified, changed, made new with each sunrise…but, when it hurts, we want out. Sometimes, the sanctification, the redemption, the being made like him, seems to hurt way too much. So we ask for it to stop. We ask for the Potter to stop scraping, we ask for the Master Molder to stop chiseling away, because the death hurts.
I want to change; I want to be more like You. But I don’t want to say goodbye to all of me.
I want to be more like You, but I want Sally included in that. I want You. I just don’t want all of You to take over me.
But once we step into the furnace, we will be quick to realize, there is no half way point. Our God is a consuming fire. That means all of me will be taken. All of me will be purified. All of me will be burnt and marred. When I step into the furnace, there is no turning back; our God is not a small flame to throw sticks in. He is a consuming fire.
And there comes a point when you realize, all there is left to do is continue to walk through it. All of you. And as you walk, all of you will come out. Like gold, your entire being will be remade, reformed, transfigure. You will come out like gold.
And the Man of Sorrows will share in your glory, and will rejoice over you with singing; for you have shared His cup, and have shared in His glory.