Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lent Day 34 - God's Grace & Joy in Suffering

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith, of greater worth than gold, which perished even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”  1 Peter 1:6-7

I have heard people say that nothing comes to us that doesn’t first pass through God’s hands. If he causes it or allows it there is purpose in it. What purpose?

  • To help us focus/refocus on him
  • To teach us something about him, ourselves, our purpose
  • To remind us that we are dependent on him
  • To bring glory to himself
  • To be a witness to others by the way we handle adversity

Can you think of others?

Sometimes we suffer because of our own bad choices. Sometimes it is because of the bad choices or reckless behavior of others. And sometimes it is simply because we live in a world made imperfect because of sin. Life can be difficult, and it is not always fair from a human perspective, but we can always be assured of this: that God works everything for good to those called by him. That means us.

We sometimes make a mistake and think that all suffering is caused by sin. While that is true in a broad sense, not every adversity that we face is caused by sin. Also, the emotions that come with suffering and adversity are not sinful. God made us as emotional beings to laugh, cry, be confused, frustrated, disappointed, excited, etc. Remember the verse that says, “In your anger do not sin,”? The feelings are not sinful, but the actions that come from them certainly can be.

If you are facing adversity in some area of your life right now ask God to help you not to sin because of your emotions. Thank him that even though you are discouraged, sad, disappointed, angry…he is still God and still in control. There is great freedom in knowing that our emotions can never derail God or his plan. He is the anchor that holds us in place even as it allows us to be human.

Even if you don’t feel like it, praise him for the opportunity he has given you, and for the assurance that he will never leave you. Sometimes adversity is part of God’s plan for us for reasons we may never know. Trust him to make something beautiful out of your difficult situation. Ask him to help your own actions reflect your faith and trust in a God who never makes mistakes.

Pray for others who are going through adversity and who are suffering, and let them know you are doing it. You don’t need the details. God knows them. We all need to be reminded that even in our darkest times we are not alone.

 “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b

I am praying for you today. 


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