While I know I have been very blessed in my life, there have also been times I have struggled or faced trials. And in those times, it was recommended to me that I “offer it up” to the Lord.
Anyone who does this knows what it means, but for those new to the faith or who aren’t familiar with the lingo, “offering it up” may be a confusing concept.
It has been my experience that there are two ways something can be offered up to God. The first, which is much more prevalent in Protestant circles, is to offer something up in prayer. In other words, when you have a trial or challenge ahead of you, or a decision to make, you pray about it. Give that problem or dilemma to God. You offer it up to the Lord.
The other way of offering something up is to offer up pain, frustration, or challenges in unity with Christ.
Christians know that Christ suffered at Calvary. The physical pain and death (and time in Hell) experienced by Christ was in atonement for the sins of all people. Christ suffered fiercely so that we don’t have to. But by recognizing that suffering, we as Christians can have a deeper appreciation for the gift offered to us by Christ, which can strengthen our faith and devotion.
Offering up your own suffering is one way to do that. Let me give you an example.
My pregnancies were somewhat difficult. They weren’t nearly as difficult as some women I know, but they weren’t a breeze, either. On particularly challenging days, I made a conscious effort to offer up my pains and fears and challenges in unity with Christ’s suffering on the cross. What I went through was a miniscule amount of pain in comparison to Christ’s suffering. Realizing that gave me a better understanding of how big of a deal it is that our Lord died the way He did.
Offering up your own suffering can also give you strength you didn’t know you had. Turning back to the pregnancy example, remembering that what I suffered was a fraction of a percent of what Christ suffered gave me strength to keep on keeping on. After all, if Christ could endure what he did, then a little heartburn wasn’t going to stop me!
Everyone faces challenges. People endure suffering. But it’s how you handle it that can make the difference between making you hard-hearted and bitter or faithful and full of grace. By offering up your suffering to Christ, in unity with His suffering, for strength in your daily walk, you will find yourself going through more than you thought you could handle.
And since we know that, with God, we can do anything, offering up your challenges in combination with trusting the Lord’s plan for your life (and leaning on God to get through) can make you unstoppable. Don’t be afraid of your challenges or suffering. Instead, use them to strengthen you and strengthen your faith.
After all, you will stand tallest on your knees.