Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Suffering Is Nothing New

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

I don’t want to sound like a killjoy today, but I need to remind you that suffering is not new to children of God. A biblical passage I try to keep in mind comes from the suffering saint Job, “For man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward” [Job 5.7]. Now there’s something you don’t hear often. That needs to be taught to our children and grandchildren, starting yesterday! What we typically hear today is that God has nothing for you but success and prosperity, your best life now! 

OK, here comes the killjoy again, the Bible never promises that! The truth is, that is part of the superficial and skeptical times in which we live. That’s why when hard times come, you hear scores of complaints, questioning God’s goodness. God is not a heavenly bellhop delivering the pleasure and comfort you ordered from room service. He doesn’t exist to make us happy; we exist to bring Him glory!

God hasn’t changed His methodology in suffering. He still uses it to mold humble, useful servants. Throw one of us in any prison and we demand a lawyer. Throw Joseph in an Egyptian prison and he becomes a dream interpreter. Throw Paul in a Roman prison and he writes God inspired Scripture. Throw Corrie ten Boom in a flea infested German prison and she starts Bible studies. Throw John Bunyan in a Bedford Gaol prison and he writes Pilgrim’s Progress.

We must resist the temptation to rethink God when hard times come. They will come. Look deeper. Cling to Him tighter. He's doing something great within you. Suffering is nothing new.

That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens. Romans 8.18-21 (The MESSAGE Paraphrase)

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