This week concludes our study in the Foundations series, where we have examined how our foundation of faith has impacted the details of our living. Next week, we will begin several weeks of stand-alone messages, along with daily devotionals, so be sure to check back daily. If these devotionals have had an impact on you, we would love for you to share them with your friends.
Short Cuts and Simple Answers
“. . . those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” 1 Peter 4:19
Your sufferings are not about you. Let that soak in. Every disciple will go through trials that are meant to be personal. Certain struggles are designed to make you useful in the hands of God, and create empathy for what others, without hope, live through each day. By becoming preoccupied with who’s to blame, we miss the opportunity to learn from Him.
It’s typical for Christians to want to know who’s to blame, or when the pain will end. Jesus had a different perspective on trials and troubles. Jesus suffered according to the will of God. It’s only through our relationship with Jesus that we can understand suffering according to the will of God.
There are three kinds of suffering in the world. Common suffering is suffering that’s common to everybody. It doesn’t matter if you are a Christian or not. Everybody suffers certain things. Such as when a hurricane comes, it doesn’t just pick on Christians. There is suffering in the world that we all share in common.
The second kind of suffering is carnal suffering. That’s suffering you bring on yourself from your own sin. If you go out and live a very loose, immoral life and develop an addiction, that’s your fault. It’s not God’s fault. It’s not anybody else’s fault. That is suffering because of making bad decisions.
The third kind of suffering is according to the Will of God. It means identifying fully with the interest of God. To the point we stop looking for short cuts or simple answers for our trials. We stop being preoccupied with unanswered prayers and the quality of our faith, where we go through the trial, without knowing why. Where our personal ambitions of perfect endings, our need for answers, are all transformed into usefulness. Only then will we understand what God has been doing all along.
Lord, help me to do good to others in the midst of my own suffering. You are the one in control and will be with me during this time of suffering.