February 23, 2014 Leave a comment
For this post, I wanted to canvass a subject that is near and dear to our hearts as Christians, and generally, as humans. Specifically, I wanted to address how we can still have hope through suffering and how our suffering is not in vain because of the sovereignty of God. Suffering is very sensitive; it can be very difficult to discuss with it recalling feelings of pain and bitterness, that we might prefer to keep repressed. Despite how unpleasant suffering is as an experience and notion, it is a subject that we would be foolish to ignore. However, no matter the particulars nor intensity of your suffering, it is being used for a beautiful purpose that will bring eternal glory. The issue of suffering is dealt with in sacred scripture (2 Timothy 3:12, John 15:18-19, Ephesians 3:13).
Suffering happens because of the natural consequences of sin and evil. In addition, it happens because of our faith. We can be the cause of our suffering because of our own folly and mistakes. Sometimes it may be the hurtful or sinful acts of others that causes our suffering. We all have experienced pain, heartbreak, loss, sadness, betrayal, etc. As Christians, how should we live and believe in light of these truths?
We can have hope because of Jesus. No. Actually, Jesus is our Hope! For many, suffering means the end of the rope. However, for believers sanctified and elected in Christ, our end is Christ! Christ works as our hope because he didn’t stay in the grave and he says that he went to prepare a place for us! If you are in Christ, your suffering is not in vain and neither is mine. Thank God! (John 14:3, Romans 8:28, John 14:19, 2 Corinthians 4:17)
Personally, I find much comfort, beauty, and inspiration in the words of the Apostle (see here Phillipians 3:7-11).
When I read this passage in Phillipians, I pray that I would have the same mind as Paul. Yes, no one desires nor enjoys suffering. But, I, too, want to know Christ the way Paul speaks of it. There is no glory without the Cross. Furthermore, nothing escapes God. He sees all and knows all; whether it is the hairs on my head, the thoughts in my heart, and even the trials that await me. God promises to be my provision, to be my strength, to be my hope, and to ultimately accomplish the purpose of my salvation-to make me more like Christ! I don’t know about you, but there is no greater hope. To be more like Christ, to be in Christ, and to be with Christ; my brothers and sisters, may that be our prayer and ultimate goal!
To God be all the glory forevermore!