Dying is gain
For some reason, when we talk about "dying being gain" we cannot help but get tears in our eyes. There is something about giving the Lord honor and praise during suffering and trials; not bearing them alone, but really giving up ourselves in the midst of them so that we begin to see and know who He is, even better. It is so hard to put into words... There is so much less of a question or fear of dying and so much more of an understanding of His marvelous goodness and joy. What a HOPE we have - people must know of this hope... it doesn't come by "pie in the sky" living. It comes from a path of suffering and sorrow, and yet joy unspeakable and full of Glory!
It takes us to that song from scripture, "Therefore the redeemed of the Lord will return and come with singing unto Zion and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads...and sorrow and mourning shall flee away!" There is a day coming when we SHALL come with singing - no more sorrow or mourning but EVERLASTING JOY to replace it! We will be in that land that our hearts long for. He, Jesus, will be there and will wipe away every tear from our eyes. But, we have to HAVE the tears to wipe away. That's the part of sorrow and suffering, trial and testing.
Elihu, who was Job's godly friend tells in Job 36:15 “By means of their suffering, He rescues those who suffer, for He gets their attention through adversity.” I believe that the “getting of their attention” is necessarily to show us how we put our trust in other things than our God. He is jealous for our affection, but when the adversity comes, we discover that our affections have often been directed in other places than in Him alone.
God has plans for us that don't end at the grave. There is an element of ruling and reigning that we fail to grasp nor do we understand it or consider it. We do know that this life is preparation for that one to come. It isn't just about being "good little Christians" now. He wants to know He can trust us with bigger things (parable of the talents, as an example).
We humans fear death (which is the believer's graduation day) and we try so hard to hold it off. We don't want to face it. That is why the medical world is a god to most people in our day and age. The biggest, fanciest edifices of our time, are hospitals and medical centers. The medical world takes away our "suffering" and our being faced with the reality of our mortality. It can melt away thoughts of imminent death. What a god our world bows down to! We eat and live as miserably as we want to and then we run to the medical world to fix it when our body gives out. We don't want to be told NO. Believers are as bad as the rest - we haven't learned how to fast or how to do life in moderation. We often blame God instead of running to him in repentance, seeking his help and forgiveness. We have so much to learn...
Acts 14:21 says, "After preaching the good news in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the kingdom of God."
WE MUST SUFFER MANY HARDSHIPS to enter the kingdom of God...!!! JUST TO ENTER the kingdom, we must suffer these things. What is the Lord saying here? Do you mean that following Jesus isn't a bed of roses? All of His promises - are they not yes and amen? What does this scripture mean? Jesus said, "depart from me for I never knew you" to those who knew about him and who even did great things in His name, but Jesus never KNEW them. Suffering is what brings us to that intimacy of KNOWING Him and Him knowing us. Do you want to be known by your Creator?