“Doing good when suffering glorifies God and brings us into an intimate encounter with Love.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 25, 2023
Let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good… 1 Peter 4:19
This time last year, as I was preparing for 28 consecutive days of proton radiation treatment, the Lord gently nudged my heart and mind with this truth, “Your suffering is not about you, but Me and My glory. Each day look to love the medical staff and fellow patients by pointing to Me and my greater purposes. Boyd, keep your eyes off yourself and stay focused on My love and how I want you to love others in My name.” What loving instruction from the Spirit to begin my journey of uncertainty for the upcoming weeks, as I would at times experience intense pain and suffering. But knowing my Father’s heart for me before my hard season…seasoned me to replace pain with praise and worry with worship. Singing of my good, good Father in my private prayers gave me the faith, love, and courage to do good for the glory of my good God publicly. Doing good when suffering glorifies God and brings us into an intimate encounter with Love.
Oswald Chambers gives healthy insight into the idea of not choosing to suffer but seeking God’s will, and if suffering is allowed by God, then choose to glorify Him in the process:
“Choosing to suffer means that there must be something wrong with you, but choosing God’s will— even if it means you will suffer— is something very different. No normal, healthy saint ever chooses to suffer; he simply chooses God’s will, just as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not… God places His saints where they will bring the most glory to Him.”
Understandably, a Christian would rather experience the power of Christ’s resurrection than the fellowship of His sufferings. But those who have experienced the sweet Holy Spirit’s comfort and love during seasons of suffering can also encounter the resurrection power of Christ’s presence. The counter-intuitive manner of seeing the face of Jesus in a way that calms and strengthens so that suffering becomes a resource of righteousness instead of fear and dread used by the devil to panic a heart. The Holy Spirit is grieved when pain and suffering cause us to obsess over our needs rather than doing good as a life hymn of praise to God. In our prayer time, we can pray for others in their pain. As we wait on the Lord, we can reach out to and love those who are waiting on the Lord in their uncertain season. Chambers goes on to admonish us not to grieve the Spirit while suffering, so as we endure, our life becomes a hymn of praise to God:
“Suppose God brings you to a crisis, and you almost endure it, but not completely. He will engineer the crisis again, but this time some of the intensity will be lost. You will have less discernment and more humiliation at having disobeyed. If you continue to grieve His Spirit, there will come a time when that crisis cannot be repeated because you have totally quenched Him. But if you will go on through the crisis, your life will become a hymn of praise to God.”
If you are in a hard place, you are loved and not alone. Jesus is your rock of strength, and you are secure in His arms. Invite others into your pain to be present with you and to comfort you. And as you experience suffering, let your humble heart, grateful attitude, and good deeds lead others to the love of the Lord. Or, this season may be to care for and serve a loved one in her suffering. Aging parents can require extra grace and patience. And it may be necessary for paid help, so you can properly care for your exhausted self. Glorifying God does not mean doing everything, but trusting by just doing some things. Your good deeds, in Jesus’ name, bring glory to God!
“But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings” (1 Peter 4:13).
Heavenly Father, I praise you in my pain, and I worship you though I may worry through Christ’s love, and in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Consider this playlist of Songs for Hope and Healing Praise & Worship to listen to throughout the day.
Brian & Jenn Johnson: You’re Gonna Be Okay
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