Thursday, November 29, 2012

Someone Suffers As I Suffer

What sort of encouragement is it to talk about suffering? Jesus told us that we would suffer in this world. So, I guess my answer would be that Jesus did it! If my Lord Jesus can speak of suffering and warn us that we will have many trials in this life, then I am not above speaking on suffering too. Does everyone suffer though? It sure seems like some folks have it easy in this life.

Every once in a while, I grow weary of receiving messages from ministers of big churches who don't seem to have any problems. Week after week, they mount the steps to the pulpit and come down on sin, praise the Lord, and speak of how everything I'm doing is wrong. For his part, the minister has a steady job, a good income, a family around him, money to spend from his book sales, and no worries, uh... mate! Of course, that is nothing but a perception from my seat far away.

When Jesus warned of suffering to come, I can rest assured that no one is escaping. Every believer in Christ can be improved upon through suffering under the tender care of Jesus, and we know that Jesus does not shirk His duty. Even when we arrive in Heaven, we will find the trees with leaves for the healing of the nations. God wouldn't put those leaves up there just for show. The problem may be in that Puritan strain that comes down from the earliest days of our nation. We don't want to show others that we are suffering, and everyone puts up a strong front to achieve this.

The problem is that we are weak like little sheeps and suffering along with our Lord. Paul spoke of boasting not in his own strength but in his weakness so that God is glorified. I know that if that minister on TV believes in Jesus then he is suffering. I know that you are suffering, even when I do not know the specifics of your suffering. You know that I am suffering, even when I don't spell out every little thing in the devotional. We don't have to have a front facing each other - we are all suffering. What a dreadful witness though. Come join us, we all like to suffer together!

Jesus gave us much more than suffering. The trials in this life are necessary, but Jesus also gave us peace, joy, and His steadfast love. He develops in us endurance, patience, self-control, and lovingkindness. In all suffering we have the strength of our Lord bearing us up. Lest we forget, Jesus also died to give us grace that delivers us from sin's just reward.

Trust in God to bring you through this suffering.

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