The perception of the nature and purpose for suffering has modified in the 21st century. In parts of the world we have achieved high levels of personal comfort and developed significant buffers to isolate us from pain. The concept of suffering (or choosing to suffer) is typically unthinkable and, in some ways, repulsive to modern thinking.
Jesus, however, taught His followers about suffering. It can be helpful to the soul to consider that God Himself chose to experience the very things that challenge us. Why not learn from the best?!
As you reflect on your own personal turbulence and suffering, what would you consider the bigger picture things you have concluded?
√ Impact upon those you love?
√ On your heart as you have searched for “why?”
√ Your feelings about Who God is and what He allows?
1 Peter 5:6-11 gives us some insight into why we suffer:
“Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand, so He may lift you up at the proper time, casting all your anxieties and fears upon Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit and be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, searching for someone to devour.
But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing the same experiences of suffering are being faced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. And after you have suffered for a little while the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”
Suffering is inseparably linked to humility in God’s world. Humility is a less chosen path, but it is God’s path for both His Son and for those who love and follow Him.
What was Paul communicating about suffering in Romans 8:18?
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed to us.”
Paul is makes an important comparison. What happens on earth is totally tied to what occurs in heaven. Our reward of shared glory is meant to be a substantive motivator. What this means is we have the opportunity to be right in the middle of the ultimate honor in the universe, and that our suffering contribute to the glory of God. Wow.
Some conclusions on this challenging and life-producing topic…
God’s way appears to be linked to the path of suffering…..
√ Expect it.
√ Ask God questions but avoid questioning God.
√ Don’t seek suffering for self-centered reasons – rather suffer for the Kingdom of Heaven and your Kingdom reward!
“And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.” – Luke 22:44
Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “My God my God, why have You forsaken Me?” – Matthew 27:45,46
Hanging in there with you as we suffer and persevere!
Dave and Burnadette