Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Surety of Suffering

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.  ~Genesis 3:7

Sir! Suffering identified! Bearing 311 degrees and moving in fast!
Suffering, for the Human Race, was assured when our first parents sinned and disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. With the entrance of sin came pain, sorrow, tragedy, and death. Pain and suffering are realties for us all and none are exempt from its heart breaking touch. You might be asking “Why, what have I done to deserve this suffering?” Well, it is because of sin.

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned  ~Romans 5:12

Scripture makes it very clear that all of us are guilty of sin, and so death and suffering follow. It is a universal truth that where sin is, suffering is there as well. What does that mean for the Christian? How does the surety of suffering figure into the daily walk of a born again believer? Consider God’s servant Job.

Though he slay me, I will hope in him;  ~Job 13:15a

Suffering is a sure thing for both the saved and unsaved alike. What should be different for the Christian is the assurance we have in knowing the God in whose sovereign hands we rest. “Though he slay me, I will hope in him;” With that assurance in God Almighty there is an element of suffering the believer does not have to experience; the futility of it all. It is the futility and senselessness that gives suffering its sting. The loss of a child, long drawn out struggles with disease ending in death, natural disasters with untold death and destruction, it is the seeming uselessness and futility of all these circumstances that adds a bitter sting to suffering.

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. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.  ~1 Peter 4:12,13

Since suffering is certain and inevitable, we should not be surprised when it suddenly overtakes us. As for Christians, there will be the additional suffering inflicted because of our faith. While it is true some will be called by God to suffer more than others (even to death), it is also true that all Christians will suffer some persecution in one form or another, Jesus said “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). When that tribulation and suffering comes, and it will, let us endeavor to commit ourselves to a merciful Savior and give Him the glory.

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.  ~1 Peter 4:19

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