Now Playing: How do we react to what God allows?
Almost none of us are comfortable with pain or suffering. We want a comfortable chair, well-fitting clothes, a cozy bed, a luxurious car, & a warm house, especially in this weather. Anything uncomfortable has some remedy, for a high enough price. And for any physical pain there is usually medication in some form or another. But Christians must not allow ourselves to be deluded by the popular culture. Paul could write from his prison cell, "Ye, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12). He also informed them, "(v.9) Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. (v.12) If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us" (2 Timothy 2:9,12). He also reminded the believers at Thessalonica, "For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know" (1 Thessalonians 3:14). And to Timothy he could encourage him, "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day" (2 Timothy 1:12).
We have many examples of suffering and exhortations on how to respond. Paul told the Romans, "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18). "(v.5) For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. (v.6) And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. (v.7) And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation" (2 Corinthians 1:5-7).
Of Moses it is recorded, "Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season" (Hebrews 11:25). Of the Lord Jesus the Hebrews were told, "(v.10) For it became Him, for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (v.18) For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted" (Hebrews 2:10,18). We are reminded, "And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it" (1 Corinthians 12:26).
The apostle Paul was told after he was converted, "For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my Name's sake" (Acts 9:16). Those at Colosse were told (concerning Paul) to "Rejoice in my (Paul's) sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body's sake, which is the church" (Colossians 1:24). Paul also wrote to Philippi, "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake (Philippians 1:29). And in chapter three, we find (v.8) "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. (v.10) That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death" (Philippians 3:8,10).
The apostle Peter instructed, "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin" (1 Peter 4:1). " (v.20) For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. (v.21) For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps" (1 Peter 2:20-21). "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy" (1 Peter 4:13). "(v.14) But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; (v.17) For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing" (1 Peter 3:14,17). But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you" (1 Peter 5:10). May we accept the suffering the Lord allows in our lives!