A Private Life?
By Sharon Betters
Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
Philippians 2:17 ESV
Some people who love me questioned why I put myself through such an emotional ringer in order to write Treasures in Darkness. My theology compels me to lean into the pain in order to offer help and hope to others. God promised Abraham that God would bless him and he in turn would be a blessing to others. Paul tells us in Galatians that if we belong to Jesus, we are heirs to the promises God made Abraham. In other words, those promises are ours as well. If you love Jesus, everything in your life is a gift to offer back to God for His purposes, to be a blessing to others. The Apostle Paul leads the way in making his life a thoroughfare for others. He does not hide his sinful past and he repeatedly and regularly declares the unconditional love and presence of our God. Paul declared to the Ephesian Christians:
I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable...
Acts 20:20 ESV
In time, God showed me that my scars are my credentials, making me a credible witness of His grace. All of my experiences, broken places and even my broken heart are sacrifices of praise to offer to God for the purpose of building up my covenant family. God’s covenant promise, that I will be a blessing to others, compels me to share whatever might be profitable for another broken person.
God promised Abraham that out of him would come a family that God would bless and would be a blessing. Every person who belongs to Jesus is designed to be a blessing to others. God keeps many of His promises through this covenant community of blessing.
I needed someone ahead of me in grief’s journey who willingly stepped back into their pain in order to help me. God’s people stepped up in spite of the fact that by coming alongside of me, they would experience excruciating pain as they were poured out like a drink offering. Their presence and story were profitable for me in my own faith journey.
What is your story? Every part of your story is a gift you can offer to the Lord as a means to offer help and hope to someone else.
I had a hard time putting the manuscript in the mail. It's so personal. But my "friend", Oswald Chambers, said something profound in My Utmost for His Highest, and it helped me send the manuscript on its way:
A Thoroughfare for the World
There is no such thing as a private life - "a world within the world" - for a man or woman who is brought into fellowship with Jesus Christ's sufferings. God breaks up the private life of His saints, and makes it a thoroughfare for the world on the one hand and for Himself on the other. No human being can stand that unless he is identified with Jesus Christ. We are not sanctified for ourselves, we are called into the fellowship of the Gospel, and things happen which have nothing to do with us, God is getting us into fellowship with Himself. Let Him have His way, if you do not, instead of being of the slightest use to God in His Redemptive work in the world, you will be a hindrance and a clog. The first thing God does with us is to get us based on rugged reality until we do not care what becomes of us individually as long as He gets His way for the purpose of His Redemption. Why shouldn't we go through heartbreaks? Through those doorways God is opening up ways of fellowship with His Son. Most of us fall and collapse at the first grip of pain; we sit down on the threshold of God's purpose and die away of self-pity, and all so called Christian sympathy will aid is to our death bed. BUT GOD WILL NOT. He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His Son, and says -"Enter into fellowship with Me; arise and shine." If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, then thank Him for breaking your heart.
My Utmost for His Highest,
Oswald Chambers, November 1
Unfortunately, my heart is too sinful to thank God for breaking my heart, but I am thankful that He promises to redeem our pain. And God smiles.
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Sharon W. Betters is author of Treasures of Encouragement, Treasures in Darkness and co-author of Treasures of Faith. She is Director of Resource Development and co-founder of MARKINC.org, a non profit organization that offers help and hope to hurting people. Sharon enjoys quality time with her husband, children and fourteen grandchildren.
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Contact Sharon with comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.