Give me a word, Lord: NOT EASY, BUT WORTH IT!

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

2 Corinthians 4:8-10 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

Revelation 21:4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Oh the Christian life, it is one of roses and daisies and milk and honey, right? Wrong! Anyone that thinks becoming a Christian will end all sufferings hasn’t read the Bible yet because it is right there in black and white and red. Oh yes, the Bible assures us that suffering will be a part of our lives, but why? Scripture tells us that in this world we will have trouble. We are going to suffer. It’s a given, but why must we suffer? One reason of course is because there is sin in this world. So do we bring on this suffering ourselves? Sometimes we do. Suffering may be the result of poor choices, foolish decisions, and sins in our lives. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but it is the truth. While suffering can be a result of sin, all of us, even the righteous, will groan under the weight of sin and suffering. “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” (Romans 8:20-22)

But suffering is not random and without purpose by any means. When we go through challenging times in our lives, our sovereign God uses those difficult circumstances to teach us lessons and to accomplish His will through us. Suffering brings us closer to the Lord. When we are in the midst of a challenge, we recognize that we are not in control of the situation, but we know who is. It causes us to decrease reliance on self and to increase reliance on God. Suffering causes us to worship and to praise God and to trust God even when the answers are unclear.

Suffering teaches us to seek and trust God. “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.” (Psalm 119:67-68) “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” (Psalm 119:71) Have you ever thought about it as the psalmist did here? It is good to be afflicted so that we may learn the decrees of the Lord. It is often very difficult to find affliction and suffering as being a good thing, but we must remember that anything that brings us closer to Christ is good, even when it seems bad. If we learn to truly seek and trust God, and rest in His promises, we can respond to our suffering in a godly manner. And after enduring the challenging circumstances, we come out on the other side more mature and wise in our faith, and God can use us to do mighty things for His kingdom. We have to trust the process. Just as we prune our vines to bear more fruit, Christ prunes us from time to time. The pruning process is painful, but oh the fruit is so sweet!

If you are going through a challenge today, don’t give up and don’t get angry. Talk to God. Ask Him what He is trying to teach you through the circumstance. I bet He will show you that He is working behind the scenes, and it will all work out for our good and His glory every single time! Recite John 16:33 as you go through challenging days: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” You are not in this alone, and Christ has already won! I’m praying with you today my friends! May God bless you in each struggle!

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