Monday, May 3, 2010

Who wants to suffer?

It seems like this week, everyone has experienced sorrow and suffering of some kind. It has been interesting to hear some of their stories and how they have dealt with their suffering.
I Corn. 1:3-4: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of
compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforted us in all our troubles, so we can comfort those in trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. How do you view suffering? One thing I know, sorrow and suffering go together. Distress, pain, unhappiness, affliction, displeasure, are just a few. I know that a little suffering is good for the soul, but somebody is trying to make a saint out of me. (Just kidding).
God knows and sees our sufferings. Sometimes our suffering is self inflicted, or caused by others, or comes to us through disease or other circumstances. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to suffer. I want to be comfortable--I want things to go smooth and to be easy. That would be possible if we lived in a perfect world. God wants us to live above our suffering. One of our Teaching Pastors once said, “ God is more interested in our character than our comfort. We have two choices, we can choose to live through it, or we can allow ourselves to be swallowed up by it. I am brought back to realistic thinking--how comfortable and free from suffering was Jesus in the world? He did not have a very comfortable life, He was out in the wilderness, had no home to call his own, he faced deep suffering and humiliation. He had to bear our sin. My suffering seems quite trivial to His. I Peter 5:10--after you have suffered 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. James 5:10-11 and Romans 5:3-4: we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces, perseverance, character and hope. Where do you find yourself when going through times of suffering? Do you enjoy being in the victim mode and all the attention that you think that it is getting you? Is giving up your suffering like giving up you personality? Have you held on to the things that you have suffered for so you can’t seem to get rid of them? How long do you want to stay in a state of suffering?
Everyone, at one time will experience suffering. Jesus experienced the worst suffering one could endure. Through His experience, He knows how to help us and comfort us. II Corn. 1:3-4: God is the Father of compassion and all comfort--He shares in our sufferings and He shares in our comforts. Sometimes our suffering is a training ground. Sometimes it is to reveal the power and the glory of God as it shines through certain individuals as they show their faith and dependence on the Most High God during their suffering. If you are going through a time of suffering, God has not abandoned you. Your suffering will not last forever. God is with us and watching over us. He knows how to get us through these times of suffering. In the book, “ Hinds Feet on High Places” the character, Much Afraid, had to take the hands of her companions Sorrow and Suffering to get to the High Places. Take the hands of the Good Shepherd and go to the High Places. Sorrow may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.
Father: You do not leave us comfortless. Sometimes You do however let us get to the point where we have to learn that your presence and sufficiency is the exact thing that we need when going through difficult times. Teach us to look to You and not ourselves in these times. Teach us to graciously receive from Your hand to know that You are faithful in the good times and faithful in the times of suffering. Amen.
Do not wait until you are in dire need of comfort in your suffering to know the sufficiency of God in your sufferings. Have a blessed week.
Janice Encourager Coach-Team
Fellowship Bible NWA CR

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