Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pleasing Pain

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

So what does this really mean? Yesterday, while returning from Grant's state golf tournament we were listening to J. Piper on the ipod. Grant missed the cut by a stroke or 2, but he was close. Can not making the cut be good? I would ask, can cardiac arrest be good?

There are times in our lives that we look at things and think, "There is no good that can come out of this". God has proved that statement SO wrong SO many times. Piper was talking about David Brainerd and all the things that happened to him that he could have thought as bad, yet they turned out amazingly good.

Did you know that he got kicked out of school for a few wrongly timed and wrongly directed sentences, and from his being kicked out of Yale, half of the school we know today as very elite schools were started. If he had not been kicked out, we would probably not even know who he was. God does work in mysterious ways.

Here is a little taste of David Brainerd from John Piper.

"I think the reason Brainerd's life has such powerful effects on people is that in spite of all his struggles he never gave up his faith or his ministry. He was consumed with a passion to finish his race and honor his Master and spread the kingdom and advance in personal holiness. It was this unswerving allegiance to the cause of Christ that makes the bleakness of his life glow with glory so that we can understand Henry Martyn when he wrote, as a student in Cambridge in 1802, "I long to be like him (p. 4)!"

Brainerd called his passion for more holiness and more usefulness a kind of "pleasing pain." "When I really enjoy God, I feel my desires of him the more insatiable, and my thirstings after holiness the more unquenchable; ... Oh, for holiness! Oh, for more of God in my soul! Oh, this pleasing pain! It makes my soul press after God ... Oh, that I might not loiter on my heavenly journey (p. 186)!"

He was gripped with by the apostolic admonition: "Redeem the time for the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:16) He embodied the counsel: "Let us not grow weary in well doing, for in due time we shall reap if we do not faint." (Gal. 6:9) He strove to be, as Paul says, "abounding in the work of the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58)."

April 17, 1747. "O I longed to fill the remaining moments all for God! Though my body was so feeble, and wearied with preaching and much private conversation, yet I wanted to sit up all night to do something for God. To God the giver of these refreshments, be glory forever and ever; Amen." (p. 246) February 21, 1746. "My soul was refreshed and comforted, and I could not but bless God, who had enabled me in some good measure to be faithful in the day past. Oh, how sweet it is to be spent and worn out for God!"

I like the statement "Pleasing Pain". Often times the pain we get is not for our immediate joy, but for our future joy and growth, and also for the joy and growth of others. As other watch a passionate pursuit of God, they are encouraged to passionately pursue as well.

I also really liked the "that I might not loiter on my Heavenly journey". It is so easy to take so much time in smelling the roses that we neglect to tell of Him who created the rose. Often I fail at doing either of those.

There are not many, today, who will have the impact as a David Brainerd, but are we laboring in the field that God has placed us with all the passion that He requires us to be working? I have much room for growth here. We must stay in the field that God has planted us in, and be producing the fruit that He brings us to produce.

To read all of this sermon from Piper Click Here.

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