Thursday, March 8, 2007

Words for Sufferers

Are you in hurting today? Do you have a friend or a family member who is sick, in prison, feeling alone, going through divorce, experiencing job loss, or some other form of pain?

If so, maybe words from 1 Peter 4 can provide some comfort and solace. Peter is specifically talking to those who are suffering BECAUSE they are Christ-followers. But I think the words are instructive for all of us.

"Don't be surprised" or "Don't let it seem strange to you" that you're going through this struggle or trial (4:12).

"Rejoice" because as you suffer for God, you "participate in the sufferings of Christ". Even if you don't suffer BECAUSE of your faith, you can give the suffering to God and let Him use it for His glory. Give you pain and your hurt to him as an offering, a sacrifice.

"It is time for judgment to begin with the family of God." Am I saying what you're going through is judgment? Not necessarily. Sometimes our hurts and pains are self-inflicted. And the pain may actually be grace at work in our life, giving us a chance to change actions and patterns that were destructive. Or the pain may be a chance to draw closer to God in midst of undeserved consequences. Either way, DON'T WASTE THE PAIN. Let it work for you. Let God have it and bring some type of healing and redemption out of it.

"Commit" yourself to your "faithful Creator". Give God your circumstance, your questioning, anger, fear, and your pain. Trust that somehow He is at work in this dark place you find yourself.

"Continue to do good". Don't you think the devil would like to use this trouble and circumstance to turn us away from the good God has been using us to do? But don't let him do it. Don't give him the victory. Refuse to stop doing good. Instead, press on as you faithfully trust in the God who loves you. And continue to meet with others who'll share their victories in the midst of their trials.

Grace & peace

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