Tuesday, December 20, 2016

WOOED BY JESUS, SUFFERING MAKES MORE SENSE, Dan Mayfield

The following is written by Harriet Beecher Stowe's son, Charles Edward Stowe, in his Recollections on his mother's life and the words are from Katherine, Harriet's sister, on the governance of her school.
"Plans for governing my school and in devising means to make my pupils to become obedient, amiable and pious.
"By degrees I finally arrived at the following principles in the government of my school.
First it is indispensable that my Scholars should feel that I am sincerely and deeply interested in their
best happiness. And the more I can convince them of this the more ready will be their obedience.
Second, The preservation of authority and order depends on the certainty that unpleasant consequences to themselves will inevitably be the result of doing wrong.
Third, It is equally necessary to preserve my own influence and their affection that they should feel that punishment is the natural result of wrongdoing in such a way that they shall regard themselves instead of me as the cause of their punishment.
Fourth, It is indispensable that my Scholars should see that my requisitions are reasonable. In the majority of cases this can be shown and in this way confidence will result that they will trust my judgment and knowledge in cases where no explanation can be given.
Fifth, The more that I can make my Scholars feel the I am actuated by a spirit of self-denying benevolence the more confidence they will feel in me and the more they will be inclined to commit to self denying duties for the good of others.
"After a while I began to compare my experience with the government of God. I finally got through the whole subject and drew out the results and found that all my difficulties resolved and all the darkness dispelled."
What difficulties were dispelled? There is something Katherine had inside that she seemed to unconsciously incorporate into the rules for governance of her school. The narrative continues.
"Her solution in brief is nothing more in view than the divine nature which was for years preached by her brother Henry Ward Beecher and set forth in the writings of her sister Harriet. The conception of a being with infinite love, patience, and kindness who suffers with man. The sufferings of Christ on the cross were not the sufferings of his human nature, merely, but the sufferings of the Divine nature in Him. In Christ we see the only revelation of God, and that is the revelation of One that suffers. This is the fundamental idea in Harriett Beecher Stowe's, The Minister's Wooing."
Katherine and Harriett came to understand and be "wooed" by the sacrificial suffering of Jesus Christ. Katherine's Scholars excelled in school and life because they understood that everything being done was for their success.
Now I have been focused for a few weeks on the writing of First Peter that speaks powerfully on the subject of suffering. I keep coming back to the question of why the dispersed Christians in northern Asia would be willing to suffer and the only answer I come to is this: the way to Holiness and Heavens reward is through suffering. I learned this because Jesus suffered through the cross to gain my salvation. And for me to be thankful, to love, I can't live and go any way but the way He did. I know He loves me. I love Him. His love, His example, His personal sacrifice, and His suffering compels us. If following Him means suffering, so be it.
Truly, as a Christian, whether times are easy or hard, our difficulties are resolved and the darkness is dispelled. When I think hard about Jesus suffering for me, I'm moved again to joyful tears that keep running down my face.

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