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I Don’t Know What That is Like

Suffering is pandemic.  It is not an anomaly, but is present in our circle of family, friends, co-workers, and church relationships. If, by chance, we are not hurting with a need of someone close to us, we are hurting because of a local, national, or international event that is reported on the news.  As we move toward our senior adult years, we witness the suffering of our parents and their friends who were like parents to us.  With so many strange illnesses, it is not unusual to hear about a person who is a young adult or a child suffer due to the affliction of some unknown disease.

There is a suffering that we do not normally experience and really don’t seek to understand because it is too hard for our emotions to truly fathom.  That is the suffering due to sacrificial service of a person in the military or one who is an “ambassador” for our LORD in a very challenging and difficult culture. The daily difficulties that they face are huge. Being cut off from family, from things that are familiar, and living with constant challenges take their toll on the minds and hearts of the valiant.  When we read stories of their courage in the face of great trials, we wonder if we would have the stamina to endure what they have in order to stay with the assignment long enough to see successes.

Maria Dyer was born in 1837 on the mission field in China where her parents were pioneer missionaries. Both her parents died when Maria was a little girl, and she was sent back to England to be raised by an uncle. The loss of her parents, however, did not deter her young heart from the importance of sharing the gospel. At age sixteen she, along with her sister, returned to China to work in a girl’s school as a missionary herself. Five years later, she married Hudson Taylor, a man well-known today for his life of ministry, faith, and sacrifice.

Hudson and Maria’s work was often criticized—even by other Christians. At one-point Maria wrote, “As to the harsh judging’s of the world, or the more painful misunderstandings of Christian brethren, I generally feel that the best plan is to go on with our work and leave God to vindicate our cause.” Of their nine children, only four survived to adulthood. Maria herself died of cholera when she was just forty-three. But she believed the cause was worthy of the sacrifice. On her grave marker these words were inscribed: “For her to live was Christ, and to die was gain.”

In a day when many are self-absorbed and care more about what they can get rather than what they can give, we need a renewal of sacrificial love. It was God’s love for us that sent Jesus into the world to die for our sins, and it is that kind of giving love that our world needs so greatly today. When we love God as we should, our interests fade as we magnify Him.  (Copied).

The passion of the Apostle Paul who knew what it was to suffer was powerful.  He wrote, “I want to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His suffering, that I may be conformed to His death.”  (Phil.3:1).   God, help us to serve with such devotion!