This is a hard thing to call to mind while you are the sufferer of some unfortunate circumstance.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I handle my own suffering. Financial hardships, the ill-health of my spouse..etc. And I have to continually be reminded that my suffering will never compare to that which Christ endured for me. Its an ongoing, daily process.
I get stuck in selfish ruts feeling sorry for myself completely forgeting how joyful I should be for all of the blessings God has put on my life! Seriously! I am such a blessed daughter of God. I have an amazing, beautiful, talented husband (who is also my best friend), an incredible family, and wonderful friends.
Before I begin complaining about the lack of shifts I’m getting at work I need to stop and thank God that I have a job at all. Before I dwell on my student debt I need to stop and thank God for placing a sense of direction on my life and bringing me the inspiration to pursue the dream that he has so graciously laid on my heart. Before I start feeling like there is a deficit of people in my life who love God, I need to remind myself that there are thousands of people around the world experiencing severe persecution for professing their love for Christ. There are just so many things that I have absolutely no right to complain about because God is Good! I have no idea why T and I are experiencing the suffering that we are, but above all, I need to remind myself that God has a plan in it. And….that God works in mysterious ways. The stuff we are dealing with at the present moment that has provoked this lament truly is mysterious. Its constant, its relentless, and it creates fear in our daily lives. And..Fear is the opposite of love.
Some verses I need to remember:
Now that we have God’s approval because of faith, we have peace with God because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done. Through Christ we can approach God and stand in his favor. So we brag because of our confidence that we will receive glory from God. But that’s not all. We also brag when we are suffering. We know that suffering creates endurance, endurance creates character, and character creates confidence. We’re not ashamed to have this confidence, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5 GWT)
God is pleased if a person is aware of him while enduring the pains of unjust suffering. What credit do you deserve if you endure a beating for doing something wrong? But if you endure suffering for doing something good, God is pleased with you. God called you to endure suffering because Christ suffered for you. He left you an example so that you could follow in his footsteps. Christ never committed any sin. He never spoke deceitfully. Christ never verbally abused those who verbally abused him. When he suffered, he didn’t make any threats but left everything to the one who judges fairly. Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so that freed from our sins, we could live a life that has God’s approval. His wounds have healed you. You were like lost sheep. Now you have come back to the shepherd and bishop of your lives. (1 Peter 2:19-25 GWT)
I consider our present sufferings insignificant compared to the glory that will soon be revealed to us. All creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal who his children are. Creation was subjected to frustration but not by its own choice. The one who subjected it to frustration did so in the hope that it would also be set free from slavery to decay in order to share the glorious freedom that the children of God will have. We know that all creation has been groaning with the pains of childbirth up to the present time. (Romans 8:18-22 GWT)