RESPONDING TO SUFFERING

Scripture Reading:  Romans 8:18-25

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”  (Romans 8:18)

We looked at two realities found in this verse.  First, we will face suffering in this present world.  Second, all the suffering we may experience pales to insignificance when we see the glory of Christ.  So, how do we respond to suffering that we will experience here on earth?

First, a Christian should not be surprised by suffering.  We live in a broken, fallen world and we are not exempt from the consequences of living in this world that has been deeply affected by sin.  “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (I Peter 4:12).  Remember Jesus’ words — “In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Second, a Christian should not be shaken by suffering.  We cannot go to pieces when we face suffering.  A passage that has helped me so much during times of difficulty is Psalm 16:8 — “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”  The key is to keep our eyes on the Lord.  He is with us through our sufferings and we do not have to be shaken.

Third, a Christian should not doubt God’s love and power.  God is sovereign over all.  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).  God somehow uses the difficult things we face for our good and for His glory.  He will deliver us from our sufferings — “And when you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you” (I Peter 5:10).

Fourth, a Christian accepts suffering and trust God through it.  God promises to be with us in our sufferings — “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume you.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:2,3a).  We are never alone, for we have the presence and power of God with us no matter what we face.

Thank You, Lord God, for Your presence and power.  Thank You that You are with me always, especially during times of difficulty and suffering.  I know that You will cause all things to work for my good and for Your glory.  Grant me grace to face suffering and not be shaken by it.

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