Thursday, February 02, 2006
Here are some thoughts I've had recently about suffering...
#1 Suffering is something we all experience when following God!
"Beloved, don't be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though something strange were happening to you" - 1 Peter 4:12
Maki told me about a drama on T.V. that she recently saw. The main actress had faced a horrible childhood. In the midst of it, she had prayed to God to help her out of her problems. Near the end there was a scene where the actress was in a Catholic church crying out to God, "Why didn't you help me!" "You said you would save me, but where were you?"
I think if some people were honest, they would say they had at least felt a little bit this way at one point or another. When we suffer, we wonder, where is God?
Listen to these words from Jesus (God in human flesh) :
"Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep."
Did you know that Christians, real Christians following the Lord, often weep and mourn more than non-Christians? At first glance, people see this and say, "Why would I want to be a Christian?" Most of them don't have the cool cars, the designer clothes or the expensive house with a servant. Most of them seem very weak and have struggles. Why would I want to be a Christian? Well, can I say, "Yes, if you are looking at the temporary things of this world, you will never be happy as a Christian." In fact it is impossible to become a Christian unless you give up your love for this world. You will never go to heaven unless you let go of this world. We must lose our pursuit of this world's pleasures and go after REAL eternal joy and pleasure in God's presence. This is what we were made for. Jesus, who is our Savior, is also our model for purposeful suffering. This is something the girl in the drama didn't think about. Jesus forsook this world and chose God's glory as His treasure. He chose suffering in this life. Hebrews 12:2 lets us peer into Jesus mind when it says, "looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Jesus hated the shame and the suffering. He was not a masochist, but He was looking for the reward and joy of being with God and helping others be with God. Through the pain he showed love and he showed God's worthiness. He knew the pain would not last forever, but joy with God does.
This world is only a testing ground. (1 Peter 4:12) Suffering, like it did for Job, tests our treasure. This is not your home. You cannot take what you own with you when you die. You will have nothing to take with you but what you did with God. You will either belong to heaven and your Father God or to your Father Satan and to His punishment in hell. This is not your home. You cannot stay here. Nor can you take any of your possessions with you where you are going very soon. Our sufferings are like a flashing red light that says, "This is not the way it supposed to be, but someday God's kingdom will come!" Instead of realizing this, most are slipping towards the end... they will soon be in hell, wishing they would have listened and acted on God's words. Suffering is a warning that says, "This is a taste of the eternal punishment that you need to avoid through Christ."