Are you one of the walking wounded who carry grievous wounds and torments that are often hidden from others? Affliction is the hard labor of the soul because we often feel forsaken, even by God. We groan in our bitter distress and our eyes overflow with tears. No one can comfort us but the balm of God’s mercy and compassion, but we often push Him away. We won’t admit, even to ourselves, that we are mad at God for allowing suffering into our lives. Believer, if you have not prepared yourself for suffering you need to know the Scriptures.
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13
If you are a follower of Christ, suffering of various kinds will be an inevitable part of your walk with the Lord. No one wants pain, hardship or loss yet the fruit of suffering will ultimately reveal genuine faith and a life transformed by the Spirit of God.
God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering. Genesis 41:52
Pain and suffering are the result of living in a sinful world, but God will redeem every trial for your good and His glory. Suffering is never senseless because God has a divine plan for your life. Suffering prepares you to be used by God. Joseph spent 13 years as an Egyptian slave and in prison before God raised him up to become second in command in Egypt. God then used Joseph to save his family and two nations from famine.
God allows suffering and uses it to conform you to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ, as you trust in Him.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. Romans 8:28-29
God will use everything you experience and waste nothing as He breaks up the fallow ground of your heart to make you look more like Jesus. You must decide if God’s good purposes for you are worth trusting Him in the hard places of life.
Have a Godly Perspective
Trials are a pressure cooker for the temptation to doubt God’s goodness and His care for you. If you focus solely on your circumstances instead of Jesus, you will begin to lose heart. Ask God to strengthen your faith in your fiery trial and cling to what you know and believe about Him. You pray to God out of need from your perspective, but always remember that God answers you from His perspective and perfect will for your life. God sees the end from the beginning and you do not, so trust Him. God’s plan is not to harm you but to give you hope and a future.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18
Ask God to strengthen your faith and refuse to miss the blessing of knowing Jesus and experiencing Him intimately.
I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death. Philippians 3:8, 10
May God calm the struggles of your heart and enable you to find peace and rest in Him, even in suffering. Remember that the rainbow comes only after the storm.
And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10-11
Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone. Lamentations 3:31-33
Grief is intense emotional pain that is caused by loss and will deeply change you from the inside out as your heart breaks. Deep grief will take you to the lowest of lows where only Christ can resurrect you! You are called to be the fragrance of Christ, but only when a flower is crushed is its fragrance released. Plant your tears with the vision of God by your side. Instead of running away from God, come near and process your emotions with Him in prayer.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
Jesus experienced crushing grief Himself. Nothing you suffer will ever compare to the great price that Jesus paid to save you. The Bible tells us that Jesus was a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities.
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” Jesus fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:38-39
Identify with Christ in His suffering as you walk through the darkness, and cling to God in prayer as Jesus did. Realize that God has a higher purpose for you just as He did for Jesus. Rejoice that Jesus is always with you and that He is your strong support. Thank Jesus now that you have His Presence to lean on.
Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on His God. Isaiah 50:10
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25
Jesus understands your wanting to be released from the pain and suffering of the cross. He asked His Father three times to release Him if it was possible.
Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Matthew 26:42, 44
With His help, Jesus asks you to follow His example and deny what you want in order to do God’s will instead. Ask Jesus now to help you.
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. 1 Peter 2:21
You will not understand everything God is doing so He asks you to trust Him. Jesus knows the way and, as you rely on Him, He will walk up the steep mountain of suffering with you. Will you surrender yourself to Him and walk where He takes you?
For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13
In your earthly life, you will suffer a thousand deaths as God releases the strong will of “self” that opposes God and His will for your life. There will be a struggle until you submit yourself to God and allow Him to rule. You are in the process of becoming God’s masterpiece as you cling to Him by faith in suffering! At the end of the trial, you will be raised up, resurrected, to see that Christ has been more fully formed within you. You can then encourage others to keep trusting God when they cannot see what He is doing. Lord, give me a humble heart and mind who is willing to follow you wherever you lead me.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Examples of Faith
We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. Acts 14:22
Faith is perfected in suffering and proved genuine. It is easy to say that we trust God when the sun is shining.
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Although He was a son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him. Hebrews 5:7-9
Jesus’ life was a continual process of making the will of God the Father His own so He knows how to help you. By faith, allow Jesus to live His supernatural life through you.
Jesus’ attitude toward suffering is worth pondering:
Should I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” John 18:11
The Ultimate Test
Then God said to Abraham, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will show you.” Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. Genesis 22:2-3
Abraham trusted the goodness of God so he traveled up the narrow road of faith to the mountain of “sacrifice” to obey the Word of the Lord. Because he knew God and trusted Him, Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only son until God intervened. The fruit of genuine faith is obedience and this pleases God. What is God asking you to surrender?
Through no fault of his own, Job was thrust into the crucible of suffering where he was tested grievously. He was asked to trust God when everything was taken away from him. Job lost his wealth, his possessions, his children and his health. Job did not understand why he was suffering but he uttered great expressions of his faith in God:
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. Job 1:20-21
Later, when Job’s wife told him to curse God and die, Job replied, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job 2:9-10
Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him. Job 13:15
Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God. Job 16:19-20
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. Job 19:25
I’ve lost everything!
Yet I will rejoice!
For God led me here!
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
Through suffering, we learn that when nothing else is left, God is enough for our lives. Cling to God through Bible study and prayer. Expect God to speak to you through His word and to strengthen you by the Holy Spirit to endure and to persevere.
Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Expect God to Speak to You from His Word and Transform your life!
Personal Bible study for “The Cup of Suffering”
Week 1: Genesis 22:1-18; 41:52; Job 1:8-22; 2:9-10; 3:1-10, 20-26;13:15-16; 16:15-17, 19-21; 19:25; 23:10; 36:15; 42:1-17; Psalms 6:3-7, 9, 34:4-5, 17-19; 41:1-4; 42:1-3, 5-11; 46:1-3; 56:3-4, 8; 73:21-26; 95:1-7; 107:13-16, 19-22, 28-31; 116:1-15; 119:49-50, 67, 76, 132-133, 153; 126:4-6; 138:3, 6-7; Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4, 7; 7:1-4, 10, 13-14
Week 2: Isaiah 25:4, 6-9; 38:1-22; 40:27-31; 41:10, 13; 45:5-7, 12, 22-23; 49:13-16; 50:4-7, 10; 51:12; 53:1-12; 55:8-11; Jeremiah 29:11-13; 31:13; 32:17, 26; Lamentations 3:1-26, 31-33, 37-40, 55-57; Habakkuk 3:16-19; Zephaniah 3:17; Matthew 5:1-4, 11-12; 7:7-11; 11:28; 20:20-23; 26:36-46, 50-54; Mark 4:35-41; 8:31-38
Week 3: Luke 17:5-6; 24:25-27, 44-47; John 9:1-3; 11:21-27, 32-36, 38-44; 16:33; 18:11; Acts 5:41-42; 14:21–22; Romans 5:1-5; 8:17-18, 24-32, 38-39; 12:12, 15; 2 Corinthians 1:2-5; 8-11; 4:7-11, 16-18; 5:7; 11:23-31; 12:9-10; Galatians 2:20; 3:7-9, 14; Philippians 1:29; 3:7-14; 4:12-13; Colossians 3:1-4
Week 4: 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; 5:16-18, 28; 2 Thessalonians 1:2-5; 2 Timothy 1:7-12; 2:1, 3; 3:12; 4:6-8; Hebrews 2:9-18; 4:14-16; 5:7-10; 7:24-26; 10:32-39; 11:1-40; 12:1-12; 13:5-6; James 1:2-8, 12; 2:14, 20-24, 26; 4:7, 10; 1 Peter 1:3-9; 2:19-25; 3:17; 4:1-2, 12-19; 5:6-7, 10-11; Jude 24-25; Revelation 1:9; 21:3-4
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