The Road of Suffering
John and I went for a long evening walk last night, to enjoy the lingering light of our first hot summer day. We both struggled. Feet swelled and backs jolted with aches and pain. Energy fell below what we have always known before and it felt so discouraging. We came home and settled in for the sweet shalom of the Sabbath.
This morning I opened my prayer journal from last year, and "happened" upon the page for July 27, 2016. I know the Spirit led me there to re-examine what God revealed to me about aging. I wrote:
"Aging is becoming real to me. I am only 65 - but already there are signs of this "tent" breaking down; torn meniscus in my knee, pain in my muscles, so much less energy! Life has been heavy and hard the last five years. The glorious Wedding began these five years of so many crises.
"But recently I watched a video of David Davis - Pastor of the wonderful Kehilat haCarmel congregation in Haifa, Israel. He was preaching after coming back from near-death to cancer. He said that he believes - and in his near-death experience God showed him - that our aging process is difficult, with much affliction because we are being transformed into Messiah's image. Oh, how you suffered, Yeshua! Your submission and sacrifice made You perfect. Your suffering was the process of holiness. Your resurrection assured your people of eternal life with You; but our journey to get there also includes suffering and submission.
"I have now watched some people in my life - including both my parents - suffer in faith and in joy, never losing their focus on You and the destiny they were moving toward: eternal life with You, where all suffering ceases and all tears are wiped away!
"Through those lens I begin to see why believers who love You are suffering so much right now. It is not all attack of the Adversary. Much of what we are going through is so that we will draw deeper and deeper into God, submitting the pain and the sorrow, disappointment and illness, to Him, knowing and believing that it is all conforming us to the image of His Son, our Redeemer King, who first suffered for us.
"David Davis' limbs quivered and fought to stay upright as he delivered his message. His voice strained to be heard in its weakness. His eyes beamed Christly-light through heavy lids. Looking at his cancer-ravaged body, I thought of Isaiah 53: 'He had no beauty or majesty that we should be attracted to him; nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.' So there he was, on the stage at Kehilat ha Carmel , where he has stood, and where we were greatly blessed to meet and hear him, proclaiming the True Gospel to Jews, Gentiles and Arabs, bringing them together to worship Messiah King Yeshua. And he showed that he will do this until his last breath!
"God's saints do not have it easy. Perfection is not attained on the road of comfort.
Philippians 1:29: For it has been granted to you on behalf of Messiah not only to believe on Him but also to suffer for Him.
Pastor David Davis passed into Glory on May 8, 2017. His suffering in this life has come to an end and he is fully transformed into the perfection of the One he served so selflessly and passionately in the Land of Israel!
"...when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:8
This question that Yeshua presented to His disciples has been ruminating in my spirit for days now. I believe it came to me when listening to several recent accounts of terrorism in Middle Eastern countries where Muslim terrorists killed Christians after they refused to speak the faith statement of Islam, thus renouncing their faith in Yeshua. They did not stutter, they did not hesitate. They refused boldly, immediately. And they were killed boldly and immediately.
Perhaps Yeshua is challenging His disciples to think about the kind of faith that will be needed on the earth when it causes their lives to be taken. In the verses just prior to His question He says, "...will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:7-8
This Scripture is all about the persistent widow who pestered the judge, asking for justice against her adversary. Even the earthly, unjust judge finally gives in and grants her request for justice, since he is weary of her bothering him. So Yeshua makes the point that God, the Righteous Judge, will bring about perfect justice for His "chosen ones who cry out to Him day and night."
So, we may be thinking, "What kind of justice was this, Lord, when they held fast to their faith in you and then got their heads cut off?" Let us follow it through. What happened when they refused the false creed of Islam? I tell you that what happened is that our God saw that they got justice and quickly...as He carried their spirits immediately to Himself! In the moment that they professed true faith, they were with the Lord of Faith.
In Hebrew the word faith is emunah. This Hebrew word is defined not only as faith, but also as steadfast, established, stable. Jonathan Cahn wrote, "The more faith you have, the more steady and the more established you become." True faith establishes us on the Rock of Yeshua, who is immovable.
Yeshua is telling us in Luke 18 that we should be like the widow, crying out to Him day and night. You may be thinking, "Yes, I've been crying out to Him day and night for a long time, but it doesn't seem like He's hearing me." What you are missing is that the consistent communication you have with the Lord is building relationship, trust, and faith. You are never bothering God! As you continue to speak to Him and cry out to Him, He is writing your name and your faith in His Book of Life. We don't cry out to one we cannot trust. We cry out, trusting that His timing and His understanding of all things in our life is perfect and complete. We cry out, believing that when it matters most, He will see that we get justice and quickly!
Pray for faith that makes you steady, strong and established in Messiah. Then if you come to a day where your faith is challenged and your life threatened by your adversary, you will not hesitate and you will not fear. You will remember your Righteous Judge who will see that you get justice and quickly!
Kelly Ferrari Mills