READ: 1 Chronicles 28-29, Psalm 125, Mark 8, Hebrews 10


David called the temple “the footstool of our God” (1 Chron. 28:2) and Solomon asked rhetorically, “Will God really dwell with man?” The temple was not intended to be a cage where God the Hamster was contained for human observation and entertainment. The image of a footrest is quite appropriate.

Will God really dwell IN man? Oh, the wonder of this “hope of glory.” We cannot make the mistake however of thinking God’s indwelling means His containment. God ordains suffering as one means to ensure He is never restrained. Under no circumstances and in no prisons will Almighty God be confined.

Hebrews 10:20 reveals “the veil is [Christ’s] flesh.” When the temple veil was torn, the presence of God was symbolically unleashed on the world. Pentecost was made possible by Calvary. The tearing apart of incarnate God on the cross established the means for the unleashed presence of God among the nations. The nations must have their Calvary if they are to have their Pentecost, as must we. When our God-dwelt bodies are ripped apart, something of the fragrance of Jesus is re-released in the world. We, too, are a veil, and when we are torn for Jesus’ sake, some fragrance in the Spirit realm wafts to unreached peoples.

Jesus is worthy of suffering. It is worth it to suffer for Jesus, for when we do, the Spirit is released. Because this is true, suffering should be understood as an ongoing “fellowship,” not a one-time event that earns us our “persecution badge.” The Western approach to suffering is to go through one traumatic experience, write a book, and then join the church lecture circuit, lapping up the respect and honor of men.

In our naïve understanding of time, we think Christ has ceased to suffer, yet the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world, and a God outside of time is always on the cross. The fellowship of His sufferings is an ongoing fraternity. If indeed God’s suffering has ongoing efficacy, and if indeed our smaller agonies “fill up what is lacking of the sufferings of Christ,” and if indeed every time we suffer, something of the Eternal God within us is unleashed on the world for the glory of God among the nations, then these manifold mysteries should compel us to embrace suffering as a lifestyle.

A suffering lifestyle does not reject days of preparation, celebration, or restoration. A suffering lifestyle is not self-flagellation or dour “make the worst” out of every situation. A suffering lifestyle is marked by the joy of a life willing to be torn that Jesus is unleashed on the world. If there is no joy, you have not suffered God’s way–you’re just miserable.

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