the ideal day to embrace your suffering.
“…for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name.” Acts 9:16 NASB
The subject of suffering comes up a lot in the Bible. It is a significant theme and it plays an important role in many of the lessons we must learn in order to grow in our faith. No one escapes unscathed. Suffering is present in everyone’s life to some degree. How it is viewed and how it is dealt with are important matters to consider in a Christian’s life.
Sometimes it is allowed to be a cause of doubt that creeps into our minds, casting a dark shadow on our hearts. “Why me, Lord?” some of us may ask. Or we may think that if God were truly kind and loving, He would not allow us to suffer at all. The importance of rejecting these and other negative thoughts cannot be stressed enough.
The truth of the matter is that regardless of what we experience in this life, it can be used for good; it can strengthen our faith and it can prepare us for a life of service to God. Rather than feel sorry for ourselves or doubt the Lord, our God, we should embrace our suffering, pray to God for strength to see us through it and ask Him to give us wisdom to learn from it and use what we have learned in service to Him.
We have all suffered. Some have suffered more than others and sometimes it is difficult for us to understand why we, in our faith, experience so much suffering while others of little or no faith at all seem to experience none. We cannot always understand why God does what He does. It is not always possible to fully appreciate why He allows certain things to occur in one life or another.
One of the most important people in the history of Christianity was the apostle Paul. His efforts to spread the Word of God are an amazing testament to his unwavering faith in Jesus Christ. Paul endured indescribable persecution, pain and suffering as he traveled extensively, trying to show the way to the salvation Christ gave the world when He died on the cross. Paul was stoned and left to die. He was whipped several times, beaten with rods, set adrift at sea and was shipwrecked three times. He spent time in prisons, was faced with robbers, dangerous weather and was often thirsty, hungry, cold and tired. He asked for nothing material from anyone. All he wanted for the suffering that he embraced in Jesus’ name was for the people he spoke with to open their hearts to Jesus Christ. “…I don’t want what you have – I want you…” (2 Corinthians 12:14b NLT).
Paul embraced his suffering because he knew what he was suffering for. He knew that the salvation of his soul and an eternal life in the presence of God was worth infinitely more than the inconvenient pain or sorrow of mere human suffering.
Embrace your suffering, even though it may be difficult to do so. Use your suffering as a tool to help you serve the Lord and you will turn that suffering into a gift of love for God. In so doing, you will thank Him for the suffering that Jesus endured as a gift for eternal peace, joy and happiness for you.
Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson