“We will never know the joy of self-sacrifice until we surrender in every detail of our lives.”
Sometimes there is a cost and a sacrifice to get to the place where God wants us to be. Because the enemy does not want us to become more like Christ, we find ourselves amid spiritual warfare. Yet, what we are walking through is not always just for us, but for the greater good of others. Hebrews 12:2b says, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus endured his crucifixion because He saw beyond the present suffering into the greater good His Father had planned for each of us.
I recently wrote this prayer to the Lord while John and I had Covid. “Lord, thank You for allowing John and me to come into Your presence, to enter into a little of Your suffering, and to discover a tiny measure of what St. Francis of Assisi described as ‘perfect joy.’ Use it to transform us, to make us look more like your precious Son, Jesus. I give you my losses, disappointments, setbacks, overwhelmedness, calendar plans, loss of time, and my desire to get caught up. I give You my life in exchange for Your life and what You desire me to walk through. I lay down my dreams and desires and pick up Your cross. I surrender my life and hold everything loosely in my hands, releasing the tight grip I had on life.”
Occasionally, God asks us to lay things down and to fight a spiritual battle, not just for our own benefit, but for the good of others. Joseph, in the book of Genesis, is an example of this. Over and over, he suffered unjustly. Ultimately though, it was for “the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). Dallas Willard writes in Renovation of the Heart: “To take him as our master means that we trust his way is right and, as he himself did, always look to the larger good under God.” When we do this, it helps our heart attitude to remain pure and fully submitted to God and His desires.
I believe that somehow God used my suffering due to Covid for the greater good in others’ lives. I fought this battle so that in a small way others may attain victory and experience joy. Recently a friend of mine kept choosing humility in unjust situations and many of us reaped the fruit of that as we celebrated and experienced immense joy at her son’s wedding. There may be a cost and a sacrifice that God is requiring of you. Ask Him to help you see what the greater good will be for others so that you have joy as you endure.
“Nothing great was ever done without much enduring.”
St. Catherine of Siena
How has your suffering resulted in the greater good of others?