While at IHOP Kansas City I was able to join a session in the prayer room. It seemed fairly normal, but the Lord used the time and context to reveal something to me. The revelation is about suffering and adversity. It came through the presence of the crown of thorns on the communion table I was standing near.
In my mind I could see the thorns as not only entanglements and resistance, as one would equate with vines, yes these things, but more. The thorns represent resistance & entanglements with the addition of pain and suffering. If you have ever traversed a briar patch, you know there is a constant evaluation of cost to benefit going through your mind. Thorns are a cost to the one who will not be stopped that is punctuated with every advancing step.
Jesus' crown of thorns was a form of suffering that was also meant as a mockery. He was (and is) a King, but the powers of this realm served up cruelty with a certain ruthless style in the act of this crowning. He was being mocked as though His royalty was a sham. Sometimes suffering can hit us this way too, when it seems we should be being honored for following God, we are despised and we are resisted, and our legitimacy is called into question.
The thing that occurred to me in these moments, was that it should not be taken as a surprise when we suffer with Christ. When we do good, and suffer for it, this is the kind of suffering that brings pleasure to God. Everything in our natural mind wants to resist and avoid this, and to buck against it at times, but yet the truth remains. In this invitation to suffering, we can also receive grace to do so with dignity, humility and courage. There have been many examples of this grace in the testimonies of those who have gone before us. You and I can also enter into this grace to suffer, and to join the Lord in this part of His yoke.
This revelation was a great encouragement to me, and is helping me to see a possibility of redeeming my difficulties. I wanted to offer this possibility to you too!
Blessings to you.