Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- July 8, 2010
“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Matthew 16:21
Suffering matures our faith, and it is for the mature of faith. How can it be that suffering is the path of perfecting my faith? Why do good people have to suffer for the sins of others? Like Peter, “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!” (v. 22), our humanness wants to protect loved ones from suffering—when this may be God’s will. He strips away my man-centered motives, leaving me exposed to the raw reality of dependence on Him.
“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God” (Hebrews 6:1, NKJV).
It is otherworldly to experience joy in the middle of adversity, yet this is what Christ-centered living does. It’s in our suffering that we see a glimpse of our Savior’s suffering. The sight of His unjust suffering soothes my soul with sweet surrender to Jesus. His afflictions show me how to suffer with faith, grace, patience, and joy deep in my heart.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
God may reveal gradually the purpose of your suffering or you may only know that it is to display His glory. Therefore, don’t lament to the Lord your suffering and miss Him, rather give it over to Him—to know Him and to learn from Him how to suffer well.
Suffering is not secluded to a select people group. It cuts across all cultures: the rich and famous and the poor and needy. Suffering silently strikes a young mom who miscarries, an older dad in career transition or a child captured by chronic illness. Some suffer from hunger, disease, persecution, finances, relationships and mental and emotional sickness. It’s only in surrender to the Suffering Servant that we learn how to suffer well. Indeed, in this life we have the potential to suffer many things, as Jesus suffered many things.
Therefore, see suffering as the process of dying to self and living for Christ. Let the Lord love you through this painful process, as He produces His peace and His character. Learn what it means to be longsuffering and truly humble, and He will lift you up to inspire and encourage others. Don’t waste pain in self-pity; rather embrace it in intimacy with Jesus. As a suffering servant stay focused on the loving cross and the glorious resurrection.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
How can I learn to suffer well? Who is suffering that needs my encouragement?
Related Readings: Isaiah 52:13-15; Isaiah 53:1-12; John 9:1-3; John 11:14-15;
Boyd Bailey is the author of Wisdom Hunters daily devotional and two devotional books, Infusion and Seeking Daily the Heart of God
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