The Gift of Today – July 16 – Suffering

untitledWhy Do Bad Things Happen? The Role of Suffering in a Believer’s Life
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5 ESV)
Suffering can be caused by many things. It can mean bad and terrible things – the loss of a child, financial ruin, divorce, major injury or illness. It can mean challenging things – a difficult marriage, a challenging work relationship, surgeries and health concerns, house fires. It can also mean the irritating things that happen on a regular basis in our lives, that cause us stress and anxiety.
I understand that NO suffering is fun. We would never CHOOSE it. However, it has an even greater purpose perhaps than comfort in our lives. Paul describes the challenges in this life as “light and momentary troubles”:
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. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ESV)
Now, I’ve never been beaten or jailed, stoned and left for dead like Paul has. So what perspective does Paul have that I don’t? His eyes are fixed on eternity – on what is unseen, the Living Christ. Everything else fades when our gaze is steadfastly on Him.
Once we are saved, that’s not the end of it. Salvation is a lifelong process that isn’t complete until the day we meet with Jesus face to face. God allows challenges in our lives to make us holy. EACH and EVERY frustration – from teeny to huge – is an OPPORTUNITY to either grow towards or away from Christ. The quicker we can identify these and yield to the Holy Spirit’s work of refining us, the faster we progress in holiness. 💚
Father, in all our trials and tribulations, please help us to yield to You! Please help us to allow the Holy Spirit to bring about good in our lives through every circumstance. Help us to understand “good” as You do, from an eternal perspective. Amen.
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