SUFFERING AND HOPE
For Christ also suffered for sins once for all,(1 Peter 3:17-18a CSB)
the righteous for the unrighteous,
that he might bring you to God.
No one likes to suffer even if it is deserved. We don’t like pain of any kind, though we often cause ourselves pain without realizing it. What about suffering when we’ve done nothing wrong? Many in past times and even now suffer simply because of their faith. Some have even been put to death, becoming martyrs for the cause of Christ. But the scriptures tell us not to fear:
But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear them or be intimidated, but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.Yet do this with gentleness and reverence, keeping a clear conscience, so that when you are accused, those who disparage your good conduct in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.(1 Peter 3:14-18)
We might also ask the question why some people are healthy while others live with chronic pain and illness every day of their lives. Surely, they don’t deserve all this suffering. I wonder if these people are included in those who suffer for doing good.
LIVING A LIFE OF HOPE
While we would not choose suffering, most of us will deal with it sometime in our lives. The scripture above tells us that we are blessed if we suffer for righteousness. It also expects us to be ready to share the reason for the hope we have within us.
How can we live a life of hope amidst the pain?
What if, Instead of letting it rule us, we use it to drive us closer to God?
My friend, Bettie Gilbert, has been such an encouragement to me through her suffering. Why? Because, even though she deals with a lot of pain, she is a shining light. Often, her pain causes her to cry out to God with her own words along with the words of scripture. This drives her deeper into the arms of Jesus, who loves and comforts even in her darkest hours. On her blog she shares her struggles and shows how she is living a life of hope while suffering.
WE CAN HAVE PEACE EVEN IN SUFFERING
I’m sure many of you could point out different ways you have struggled in your suffering and found peace and hope in God. In my own life, I have had suffering not only physically but emotionally and spiritually. Losing my son is one of the hardest things I have ever had to face, but I do not despair. God has comforted me through His word and the support of friends and family. My hope in God is a sure hope that will not disappoint, and one day, because of the resurrection of Jesus, I will see my son again.
A REASON FOR HOPE
Give reason for hope
Be gentle and show respect
Keep a clear conscience
Suffering for good
is better than for evil
Christ also suffered
Jesus, the Righteous,
Suffered for the unrighteous
Bringing us to God
Though no suffering is pleasant, it is sometimes necessary. Give us strength through suffering that we might endure, partaking in the suffering of Christ. May we stand firm and be finally brought to live with You eternally. Thank You for faith to believe, that through Christ, we stand by His grace. Your Holy Spirit pours out Your love in our hearts. Amen.
I’m linking up with: #InspireMeMonday