Focus on our Suffering
Posted by Brad Quiring on February 23, 2016
I copied this entry from the daily devotional put out by the North American Baptist Conference’s “40 Days to Easter” devotional. It summarizes the February 21, 2016 message on suffering so well.
“Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:32–33 ESV)
There are those who wrongfully claim that a life following Jesus is free of hardship. Rather, Jesus distinctly tells his disciples that they will have tribulation, but they can take courage in the fact that He has overcome the world. The author of Psalm 91 knew this to be true as well. He writes that God will be with us in trouble, but He will rescue us. “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you” (Psalm 91:7). We will still have traps and snares on all sides, but He will deliver us.
“Jesus did not say you will not be tempest-tossed, you shall not be work-weary, you shall not be discomforted. But he did say, ‘You shall not be overcome.’”
—Julian of Norwich
Suffering is part of life. We are sinners and have sinned, therefore the consequences of sin cause suffering. People act on their sin nature and create suffering for others. We make foolish decisions that go against God’ clearly stated purpose and way, and we suffer. Not to mention we cause others to suffer, too. Death is the ultimate suffering. Romans 6:23a says, “For the wages of sin is death.”
We also suffer unjustly when we choose to have faith in Jesus and follow his way as revealed in the Bible and in our hearts by the work of the Holy Spirit.
17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 1 Peter 3:17-18
Peter goes on in 1 Peter 4:12-14: 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
If you are suffering because of someone else’s sin against you, let God deal with them.
If you are suffering because of your own unwise decisions and sin, deal directly and honestly with God.
If you suffer with physical, financial, relational or emotional problems, be patient and trust God. He is taking care of you and will never leave you nor forsake you.
If you are suffering because of your relationship with Jesus Christ and a lifestyle that follows the Bible, rejoice in your sufferings because you are becoming like Christ.
There is a happy ending, stay tuned for the message and blog next week. Take heart, Jesus has overcome the world.