Scripture Reading:  Ephesians 3:11-13

“So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.” (Ephesians 3:13)

Paul knew that God had an eternal plan for his life.  He knew that he was destined for glory.  He also knew that he had bold and confident access to God now.  He was well aware of the fact that he could approach God and that he would find grace to help in his time of need.  He also had the assurance that he was in chains for a reason.  His imprisonment was part of God’s great plan.  Thus, he wrote these words to the Ephesians, “So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you.”  

It is easy for us to lose heart when we face difficulties and disappointments.  At various times in our lives, we will face many kinds of trials — the death of a loved one, physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, financial pressure, unexpected tragedies, and a host of other things.  Life on this earth is hard.  Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).  The truth is that we will face difficulties, tragedies, losses and disappointments.  Life does not always turn out the way we think it will.

Paul understood the sovereignty of God.  He was also realistic about life in this fallen world — it is filled with difficulties!  But he kept his eyes on Jesus and had the right perspective.  “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always caring in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our bodies” (II Corinthians 4:7-10).  Paul knew what Jesus had suffered for him and for His people.  He kept his eyes on Jesus and drew his strength from Him.  Therefore he did not lose heart when he suffered.  And he could encourage others not to lose heart also.

The real key to facing suffering so that we don’t lose heart is to keep our eyes on Jesus — “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted” (Hebrews 12:2,3).

Lord Jesus, when I consider what You suffered for me, my suffering amounts to so little.  You endured the cross for me.  Let me have the right perspective when I face various kinds of trials and suffering.  Help me to keep the end in mind — I am destined for glory with You!


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