Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 16, 2019
Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. 2 Timothy 2:11-12
To speak of suffering is to dive into the deep end of faith, and if we aren’t careful we can quickly find ourselves in stormy waters. On the one hand, human suffering and the effects of sin upon this world are the very thing the Lord came to heal and free us from! It is a deeply Christian aim to give ourselves fully to the relief of suffering in our own lives, communities, and world. It’s for good reason that we celebrate and honor people like Mother Teresa for fully embodying this way of life. And yet – especially in the affluent West – we can be so consumed with the avoidance and elimination of suffering that we fall apart at the slightest sign of challenge or discomfort. How then are we meant to make sense of the suffering we encounter in our lives?
Though this does not resolve the “why” behind God in his providence allowing suffering to persist, I do know this: difficulty and pain in life is what makes us strong and substantial people. When it comes to physical fitness, we intuitively know this to be true. At this very moment, there are tens of thousands of people around the country in a gym, spending their hard earned money to have trainers or machines subject them to great pain and discomfort. Why? Because we want to be strong and healthy, and the lack of physical pain and exertion makes us weak and frail.
While praying for healing and freedom from pain and suffering, we must also realize that our suffering can give us grit and substance to help us endure even in the face of trial. This doesn’t mean we seek suffering out, yet when it does come don’t make the mistake of thinking everything in your world is falling apart. See your suffering as an opportunity for new life to emerge, for God to bring about something beautiful in and through your pain.
The Scriptures speak of oil and wine as signs of God’s favor and abundance (Psalm 104:15). Yet we would do well to remember that oil and wine come through a process of crushing olives and pressing grapes. You might have pressure in your life right now that feels like it is going to crush joy. Might it instead be a process that will yield something beautiful if you can trust that God is in the process and working it for your good?
Father, help us to believe that you are in our midst and working for our good, even in seasons of significant pain or uncertainty. Amen.
What pressure are you currently facing that you need to endure with grace and faith, trusting that it will yield something beautiful on the other side?
Our momentary suffering can give us grit and substance to help us endure even in the face of trial. #wisdomhunters #sufferings #Jesus
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