Sunday, November 5, 2017

Suffering in Stride

Psalm 119:50  "My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life."

         Suffering is an unpleasant experience with a threat of harm to an individual.  We try to avoid it at all costs, but sometimes it's just part of the plan God has for us.  Acts 14:22 “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”  We do not suffer in vain.  All that we suffer through has a purpose. It is intended to help us to rely on God more and less on ourselves.
        There are two ways to respond to suffering: question, blame, and curse God while you suffer OR praise and thank God for the suffering that drew you closer to Him.  Job 2:9-10 is a good example.."His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”  In all this, Job did not sin in what he said."
       Suffering makes our hope in God's promises all the more powerful and meaningful to our hearts, minds and souls.  2 Corinthians 4:17-18  "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
        Are you going through a tough time? Take heart. The Lord is sovereign and He controls all adversity in our lives. That’s why it’s important to remember how much He loves us. If He allows us to go through pain, suffering, or loss, then He has something good He wants to accomplish in us. []
        As for myself, my personal suffering is God's way of keeping me focused on Him and His promises.  If CMT [Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease] had not been my 'thorn', where would my spiritual state be?  The struggles make you stronger, and the changes make you wise, but to God none of it is a surprise.  God is my all in all, every step of the way.

7 Truths About Suffering [C. Stanley;]

  1. Adversity is universal. It’s everywhere and can affect any area of our lives.
  2. It’s impartial. Because we live in a fallen world, trouble comes to all of us—even believers, no matter what our financial, social, or educational status.
  3. Adversity is painful. The pain can be physical, emotional, or relational, but whatever the source, it hurts.
  4. Sometimes adversity comes suddenly. Life could be going on as normal when an accident or a negative report from the doctor leaves us unexpectedly devastated.
  5. Times of adversity may be prolonged. Sometimes the emotional or physical pain continues for years.
  6. It may be intense. We may hurt so badly that even those who try to bring comfort feel the pain.
  7. Adversity is often beyond our control. We may feel helpless and have no answer for why God would allow us to go through it.