Wednesday, September 08, 2010
The Joy of Suffering—den Boer
I had volunteered to preach on the Sunday most of the men including the pastor were at Sauble Beach on a retreat weekend which consequently meant a women’s day at the church.
How difficult could it be? You pray. The Lord gives you a subject. You research. You arrange a sermon. You practise. You rearrange your sermon. You research some more. You practise. You pray.
You gather some props. You ask other people to pray. You go to church. You preach. After the sermon the congregation is invited to share their related stories. They do. They are women, after all. Everything clicks. You feel joy even though you preached on suffering for Christ.
Then you get the recording of your sermon which you take home and stuff it into a bookshelf promising yourself you will listen to it, sometime when you are up to discovering how you sound.
Then your husband—who comes home smiling and limping from the muscle he pulled while scoring a touch-down during touch football at the weekend retreat—wants to hear the recording. You give him the CD which he will listen to in the car on the way to a distant client. You ask him to make sure he gives you honest feedback. Then you wait.
When he comes home, he says he is very disappointed. The recording doesn’t go beyond track one. He hears you being introduced. Then he hears you say, “Consider it all joy.” The rest of the CD is blank.
You consider this all joy.
Meanwhile the pastor has been receiving great feedback and asks you to consider preaching again, sometime.
There is joy in this too.
Then you remember what you preached.
Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:11,12a).
I want that kind of joy. God help me.
Marian den Boer
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