Summary: By Todd Bentley. The wilderness is the last place most believers want to be. That’s understandable, since the notion of “biblical” suffering sets most people on edge. But it doesn’t have to. Not if you know of the joy set before you!
THE FELLOWSHIP OF HIS SUFFERING - PART 1
- BY TODD BENTLEY
This is a two-part testimony teaching entitled, The Fellowship of His Suffering, by Todd Bentley.
The wilderness is the last place most believers want to be. That’s understandable, since the notion of “biblical” suffering sets most people on edge. But it doesn’t have to. Not if you know of the joy set before you! Although the wilderness experience is a place of brokenness and shaking, it’s also a place of wonder, of change, of transition, of transformation, and of being intimately cared for by the Lord. Todd’s revelatory teachings derive from his own recent six-month journey into the valley and the foundation of God’s promises. As you read, you’ll come to a greater understanding of what suffering is, what it definitely isn’t, and how to rejoice in the midst of it.
“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” —Philippians 3:10
HARD-PRESSED BUT NOT CRUSHED
People cringe at the thought of suffering—the very word conjures uneasy thoughts. Believers sometimes refer to suffering as “wilderness time,” perhaps because it makes suffering easier to accept. However, it doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to endure.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you (2 Cor. 4:7–14).
Christians are often of the mindset that the wilderness is the last place they ever want to be. However, many have been there, and have lived to tell about it. In fact, it’s almost impossible, if not, downright impossible to teach or to minister to someone about biblical suffering, without ever having endured it oneself. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t taught on the subject in my eight years of ministry before this. As a believer, I’d never been in that valley of stripping and plucking, crushing and dying, and exploration and mining of the deepest innermost places of my heart. I’ve always taught from high places; the mountaintop of miracles, signs, and wonders, because until six months ago, that’s what I’ve known in my walk with the Lord.
Friends, it’s under the Lord’s tender care that I share with you the revelations God has given me about the cup of suffering, and what it is, and what it isn’t. I speak as a molting eagle, plucked and stripped, made weak so that the love and strength of the Father could be perfected and released more freely within me. I identify with the apostle Paul to whom God said: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness,” and whereby Paul responds, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9).
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
The Lord has had me in His wilderness care and place of transformation for the past six months. I no longer wonder about this place. In fact, I understand it now and love it, for it is truly a place of wonder, of change, brokenness, transition, shaking, humility, reverent fear of the Lord, and of being ministered to and cared for.
“He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, So the LORD alone led him, and there was no foreign god with him. He made him ride in the heights of the earth, that he might eat the produce of the fields ...” (Deut. 32:10–13a).