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Of Angels and Suffering

August 8, 2009

I have been reading a very good book on suffering by Joni Eareckson Tada and Stephen Estes. It is called When God Weeps, Why Our Suffering Matters to the Almighty. The first part is done by Stephen Estes and the second part by Joni. So far, I have really enjoyed it and have even read aloud to my family most of what I’ve read so far.

Last night, I read something that really lept out at me. Joni had been talking about how others see Yeshua working in us when we choose to still believe, to still love and to still serve Him regardless of our circumstances. Then she raises the question…but what if no one knew? What if no one is around to see your faith and to be encouraged by you and persistent faith? Then what!

Boy, did that srike a chord with me. Not all suffering is seen. There is a suffering and anguish of the soul that can be very hidden from others. Suffering of the soul does not take away from who we are in Yeshua/Jesus. However, it is possible for suffering of the soul (like physical pain) to be so intense that it makes us wonder why we are still here. It is even harder if we are alone…whether physically…or in the sense that no one else knows about our suffering.

Although some physical suffering can be hidden to a certain degree, depending upon what kind of condition or ailment it is, a lot of soul suffering is much harder to spot. A person can “look” just fine, but inside be tormented. For those who are experiencing both physical struggles and soul struggles, I would have to think it is the hardest.

I know that it is possible to experience joy and sorrow simultaneously. I can have that joy of knowing where I am headed and who I am in the Lord, even in the midst of pain. But what about those times when the emotional pain seems overwhelming and the joy seems to be hidden? Or what about when the physical pain is driving someone out of their mind…literally?

When no one is around to see our struggles…do they really matter?

Well, Joni references the following Scripture:

Eph 3:8-10 NASB(8) To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,(9) and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things;(10) so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

There is a footnote at that verse to the following verse:

1Pe 1:12 ESV(12) It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

Do you see what Joni sees…and what I see? Those in the spiritual realms are watching us. They are watching the kingdom of heaven unfold through the “church”…which is all of us who make up the body of Yeshua.

Another verse that sort of relates to this is:

Luk 15:10 ESV(10) Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The angels are definitely watching. If you look up angels in scripture, you will find many verses that indicate how they work for Yahweh. They have to be in the know.

Joni points out that there is another spiritual group who watches…the demonic realm. They watch, too, and they hate it when we stand strong in the faith and in our hope and in our love for Yahweh. They absolutely hate it.  I have to smile at that thought. They think they can sway us…just like hasatan (satan) thought he could with Job. But they are wrong. The demonic realm is witnessing the strength of the saints…a supernatural strength that we are blessed with…whether we feel it or not.

No matter what is going on in our lives, we are never really alone in our suffering. Even if humans abandon us or no one else can see the pain in our souls, the spiritual realm is watching. If the angels joy over a sinner saved, then I bet they are also cheering us on.

I know that Yeshua also sees us. It says in Romans 8:34 and I John 2:1 that Yeshua is interceding for us. He is talking to His Abba/Father on our behalf. He sees. He cares. He knows.

We are still here…and as long as we are still here there is a purpose for our lives. It may that only our heavenly Abba can see that purpose…but there is one.  If nothing else, those in the spiritual realms are learning about Yahweh through us.

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