“… And nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 4:3)
The Shepherd always has a table to spread before His sheep. (Psalm 23:5) Oftentimes, the table contains the sweetest of blessings, other times it includes “bitter herbs.” (Exodus 12:8) But to those who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, every bitter thing is made sweet.
Our God wonderfully knows how to work all things together for good. This good, brought forth out of evil, is our conformity to His Son. But this cannot happen unless we learn to give thanks, even for the cup of suffering in our life.
Jesus had great desire to eat the last supper with His disciples. All the elements of this meal pointed to His soon suffering. “And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15) The Lamb went before His flock, eating the bitter herbs of the Passover feast with thanksgiving. Foreseeing the cross where His blood would flow, “He took the cup, and gave thanks …” (Matthew 26:27)
But His disciples, even at that feast, wanted only the choicest aspects of life in the kingdom, dreaming of future great position and glory. John and James had previously been so bold as to request thrones at Christ’s right and left hand in the coming kingdom. Jesus knew however that suffering must precede reigning and asked them: “Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?” (Mark 10:38) The sons of thunder heartily shot back, “Yes, we can!” To which Jesus responded: “Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of …” (Mark 10:39)
God has a full table for us. There are indeed sweet blessings now, even in this life of trouble, evil, and pain. But if we are to enter into the fullness of all the glory God has purposed for us, we must drink from that same cup that Jesus drank from.
Be hungry and thirsty for righteousness! In and for everything, give thanks! Refuse nothing from the table spread before you. Let every bitter thing become sweet.
“The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” (Proverbs 27:7)