Thinking Out Loud
The reality of living in a broken and sin cursed world is manifested in the existence of human suffering. Sin destroys everything that it touches and because of it, the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now (Romans 8;22).
But human suffering in the hands of a holy and righteous God is actually beneficial for His people. The Bible tells us that we are called to share in Christ’s suffering in this world (our topic last Sunday). It has been granted to us that for the sake of Christ [we]… suffer for his sake (Philippians 1:29). Suffering brings maturity in faith (James 1:2-4), it produces endurance and steadfastness (Romans 5:3, 11; Hebrews 10:36), it tests and tries your faith (1:7-9) and, according to God’s purpose, it conforms you to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-30).
For the follower of Christ, suffering teaches us to rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1:9). Isn’t this what the Lord did for Paul when giving him a “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)? And isn’t this what Peter learned, having experienced his own weakness to stand for Christ (Matthew 26:34ff)?
Suffering reminds us that contrary to the deceit of sin, we were created to be dependent beings, dependent on our creator (Genesis 2). Suffering reminds us that nothing… absolutely nothing in this world can satisfy our parched and thirsty souls, but Jesus.
Whatever you may be facing today or in the days ahead, be encouraged to act in obedient faith (don’t wait for your feelings to lead you) and count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds. The benefits of suffering is good, because the God you serve… is good.
Soli Deo Gloria!