“. . . every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
The Life Of An Academic Superstar Takes A Dark Turn
I just heard a man’s testimony about a huge personal problem he faced. This man is very intelligent. Growing up he was an academic superstar: the valedictorian of his high school, and he earned his PhD. But somewhere along the line he became someone who sought after success in order to earn love from God and from the people around him. As that continued to happen his life took a dark turn. He stopped sleeping. He became depressed. Eventually he entered into counseling and was diagnosed with a severe case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He was officially mentally ill.
He recalled one moment when he was alone in his study, and he was in this mental haze, and he thought to himself,
“So this is what it feels like to lose my mind.”
And he just sort of surrendered it, to God. He just decided to let God do whatever He wanted with his mental illness. And a funny thing happened. In that very moment the burden to earn love from God and people through his own successes was lifted. And he recognized God for who He is. He recognized God loved him because he belongs to Christ, not for what he achieves.
After that he experienced an intimacy with God that he didn’t have before. And, from what I can tell, his life became more fruitful for Jesus.
Your Suffering And The Fruit That Comes From It
I’ve heard many similar stories about how God used suffering to conform a person’s character, and I’ve experienced it myself. I don’t know why suffering is necessary to make us better able to bear fruit, but I’ve found it to be true.
So often the person who suffers surrenders his life to God.
So often the one who suffers comes out the other side with a beautiful humility.
So often the one who suffers is filled with love and compassion for others.
When I went through my own season of suffering it was brutal. The emotional pain was so great it was palpable. But one thing sustained me. No, that’s not right. One Person sustained me. My Father and His Son were with me the whole way.
So if you’re suffering right now, cling to this with everything you have:
Your Father and His Son are with you too.
And also take hope in this: you’ll come out the other side more conformed into the likeness of Jesus.
“Father, please sustain the reader of this blog post. Give him your Holy Spirit in abundant measure. Strengthen him during this painful time. Help him to experience the greatest possible intimacy with you as he endures what he’s going through right now. And let him come through to the other side more conformed into the likeness of Jesus.
You might also like He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched — Genesis 32:22-32, and What It Takes To Be Glad About Jesus: John 6:16-21 .
Image of the thorny crown and nail via Luciano inline, Creative Commons.
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