There is, perhaps, nothing that encourages my heart more than to have God place someone in my life to whom I can minister . . . and to realize that the thing that has prepared me to minister to them is my own experience with pain & suffering.
It somehow makes what I have gone through less senseless.
It transforms the harsh, ugly scars into something less repulsive. . . maybe even beautiful.
(Our identity as sufferers) is the identity we share with those we seek to love and help. Even with unbelievers, this shared brotherhood or sisterhood is our goal. We stand alongside each other. We are equals. We share the same experience of suffering. And our experience has the same goal of holiness. Let's consider the impact of this identity on personal ministry.*
1.it gives us the opportunity to make truth concrete for
people – truths are often robbed of their power because people are unable to see them in action – as fellow-sufferers, we provide concrete realities of the truths we share in the midst of life
2.It encourages people to depend on Christ rather than on us – we are never more than ambassadors of Christ*
3.It encourages humility and honesty - as I share my own stories of struggle
4.It redeems my story – God has brought me through sin and suffering, not only to change me, but to enable me to minster to others. My story is a small chapter in the grand story of redemption, and Christ is on center stage.
5.It makes my life a window to the glory of Christ – when we emphasize that we are brothers and sisters, we are no longer viewed as idealized models. We become windows people can look through to see the presence, power, love and grace of Christ. Our lives frame the beauty of what he can do.
6.It results in worship of Christ – when you have spent 15 minutes in front of Monet, you are thankful that he had paintbrushes, but you are not in awe of them. You are in awe of Monet and his ability as a painter. The posture of brotherhood
presents Christ as the great redemptive Artist. We are simply brushes in his hands. The glorious changes he paints into the hearts of people are not the result of good brushes, but of the skills of the Painter.
- Instruments in the Redeemers Hands - by Paul Tripp; pp 148-149