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Joy In Suffering

"God...setteth in pain the jewel of His joy."

"A friend who is gravely ill... is greatly loved by many and has had a unique ministry because of her gifts of friendship and hospitality.  Must she suffer?
The answer is yes.  For the Lord who loves her suffered and wants her to fellowship with Himself.  The joy of thus knowing Him comes not in spite of but because of suffering, just as resurrection comes out of death.  I have a Savior because I am a sinner; a beauty is given the child of God in exchange for ashes.
We want to avoid suffering, death, sin, ashes.  But we live in a world crushed and broken and torn, a world God Himself visited to redeem.  We receive His poured-out life, and being allowed the high privilege of suffering with Him, may then pour ourselves out for others.
How can one's illness help another?  By being offered to Him who can transform it into blessing.
A Lamp for My Feet

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.
George Matheson
-taken from Gateway to Joy, by Elisabeth Elliot
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