Welcome to summer and The Summer Sizzle Series!
Teaming up with some of my very favorite blogging friends, we are offering a series that we are calling, “The Summer Sizzle Series.”
Each week, I’ll be sharing the best articles from several amazing women that I personally know, pray for, do ministry with, and dearly love.
I believe you are going to be blessed!
Today, you get to read a wonderful word from my friend Marva Smith. This sister lives in the most beautiful part of the world… the Carribean.
She’s a friend, she’s an encourager, and she is a blessing.
Additionally, she has lived through a great deal this past year – two hurricanes, moving and relocating several times, trouble with fires and smoke near her home, and many other incredible challenges.
I love the steadfast faith of this woman!
I believe you will be greatly encouraged as you read today.
This past week was rough.
I’m not sure if you use that expression too, but in the islands, it’s our way of saying that it was a difficult, challenging, maybe even painful week. My week was all of that and then some.
I felt God calling me to do a bold thing. And I did it. At least I made the first step and then the second.
And you know what?
Instead of feeling good and honored and blessed, I got none of that.
Have you obeyed God only to be rewarded with pain?
It just hurt.
It was painful. And if I had to be really honest, I felt like God was torturing me. Yes, I said it.
‘Why God? Why are you making me do this?’
Now, let’s make one thing clear. God is not MAKING me do anything. Yet, in a complete (I use that term very loosely) act of surrender, I have chosen to do the hard thing.Have you ever obeyed God only to be rewarded with pain? Click To Tweet
When Obedience Begets Pain
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Every Easter we retell the story of Jesus’ death on the cross. Even if you’re not a Christian, I’m almost certain that you’ve heard the Easter story at least once.
Jesus, the all perfect, never sinning, son of God, was beaten, pinned to a cross and died there for the sins of the world. Three days later God miraculously rose Him from the dead and Jesus went up to heaven to be reunited with His Father. In a nutshell.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
It’s a lovely, inspiring story.
But that’s the nice, neat, air-brushed, Disney version.
The real story, however, is way, way messier.
There are blood and gore, betrayal and angst, devastating pain and downright torture – the kind of movie I won’t allow my children to watch.
Yet the real, painful story is where hope blossoms.Yet the real, painful story (of Jesus) is where hope blossoms. (Marva Smith) Click To Tweet
Beauty from Ashes
Yes, Jesus’ messy, bloody, and gory story gives me hope.
You see when Jesus CHOSE to obey, it resulted in pain. Lots of pain.
Jesus’s story reminds me that obedience does not necessarily go hand in hand with an easy life. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.Jesus's story reminds me that obedience does not necessarily go hand in hand with an easy life. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. (Marva Smith) Click To Tweet
“In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Without knowing it, I think I silently expected that my obedience would result in blessings. A pat on the back.
That’s not too much to ask for doing a hard thing, is it?
I guess I never expected the blessing to hurt.
I know that God is working to make my story beautiful, as He did with Jesus’ story. But, oh how I wish He could just skip to the good part. The part where there’s rejoicing instead of pain. Hope instead of a loss.
But the power of Jesus’s story lies not in the end alone, but in the complete story.But the power of Jesus’s story lies not in the end alone, but in the complete story. (Marva Smith) Click To Tweet
It is a story of obedience, of overcoming, and of beauty being revealed from the ashes.
To be continued…
My story is not over; it is just being told. And the beauty won’t be revealed until the right time.
In the meantime, I need to go through the pain to experience the joy. I need to experience the loss so that I can find the hope. It’s painful and messy but necessary.
So, as I embrace this bold thing, I remember the Cross of Christ: beautiful and messy, painful and bright.
I have a feeling your story is like that too.
That’s why I encourage you to surrender your story to Christ.That’s why I encourage you to surrender your story to Christ. (Marva Smith) Click To Tweet
Your story doesn’t finish at the pain!
I believe that God is weaving beauty in your story even as you read this.
I pray today that you will find hope in the Cross — in that place where beauty and pain live happily ever after.
And may you find the strength to do that hard thing today.
The blessing might not look like you expect, but it’s all a part of God’s beautiful story for your life. Trust Him to weave it all together perfectly.The blessing might not look like you expect, but it’s all a part of God’s beautiful story for your life. (Marva Smith) Click To Tweet
What about you?
Have you been called on to do a hard thing lately and expected a blessing for your obedience? What was the result?
Please share the lessons you learned so that we can find some encouragement from your story.
Wishing you blessings!
MarvaRemember - Your story doesn’t finish at the pain! (Marva Smith) Click To Tweet
Marva Smith | SunSparkleShine.com
My sister Marva is an island-living, sun-loving Christian wife and mother. As a business owner, management consultant, trainer and coach, she’s no stranger to busy but chooses the full life Christ offers instead (John 10:10). She finds joy in encouraging women to slow down and shine in the light of God’s goodness.
You can find her writing about her life and faith on her website SunSparkleShine.com as well as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. Get a free copy of her e-book You Were Made to Sparkle here.
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