Manna For Today: Sunday, September 20, 2015
I Peter 5:10 says, “In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.”
This text speaks to us of the necessity of suffering. Suffering is a part of life that we all want to avoid, yet no one has accomplished that goal in the history of mankind.
Suffering has no regard for gender, race, economic status, politics or any other consideration we may offer though some people seem to experience a great deal more suffering than others.
As strange as it may sound, suffering can have benefits. David said in Psalm 119:71, “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.”
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted…” In my own experiences, the bitterest times of my life have resulted in my sweetest times in God.
So what benefits might we gain from suffering?
1. Suffering gives us a chance to prove how genuine our faith is.
I Peter 1:6-7 – So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
• Our faith can only be tested in trial; if believers never suffered everyone would want to be a Christian for obvious reasons.
• As Christians, we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
Acts 5:40-42 – The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go. 41 The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus. 42 And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.”
2. Suffering can be the catalyst for spiritual growth.
James 1:2-4 – Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
• Many of the virtues we enjoy in Christ can only be developed in trials.
Romans 5:3-5 also encourages us to rejoice in tribulation because of the resulting growth.
Romans 5:3-5 – We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.
3. Suffering can produce humility and dependence on God.
II Corinthians 1:8-10 – We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And He did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us.
• Trouble can teach us not to trust in ourselves but in God.
• Joseph, after many years of severe suffering resulting from the cruelty of his brothers, said in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”
• Joseph saw the suffering in his life as a part of the greater plan of God for himself and others, even those responsible for his pain.
So how do we make it through the difficult ebbs and flows of life? We rely on God’s promises of endurance.
1. You will never be confronted with what God won’t enable you to handle.
I Corinthians 10:13 – The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.
2. Your deliverance is grounded on God’s Word.
Psalm 34:19 – The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.
3. In Christ, you are made to be more than a conqueror.
Romans 8:35-39 – Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Someone said, “Suffering without catharsis is nothing but wasted pain.”
Don’t waste your challenge; let God use it to grow you.
Peace and blessings!