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“Why do I still suffer even though I’m already a Christian? I thought after I come to Christ, all is going to be well.”

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the funeral of a man who was a wonderful husband, amazing dad, great employee and faithful servant in the church. He and his wife were remarkable examples to other couples. But one morning, MC was violently stabbed, which caused his death.

I was told that in his last few moments, before he went to be with the Lord,  his last few words to his wife were, “It is as it is. It is well.”

Wow.

How can one say this?
What hope was he holding on to that would cause him to make this declaration?

I realize that there are no amount of words to try to explain or even attempt to bring comfort to his wife and family in this time of tragedy. But God’s Word gives us a few hints as to why we go through what we are going through.

Paul tells the church in Philippi:

For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. (Philippians 1:29-3)

Here are a few things that point to why we go through suffering:

1. PROOF

Suffering is one of the proofs that we follow Christ. His teachings are actually counter-cultural. If we go with what Jesus says, the Bible says that “everyone who wants to live a godly life will suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12)

Jesus says that in this world, we will have tribulation. But we can rejoice because He has overcome the world. (John 16:33)

2. PRIVILEGE

Paul says that we suffer “for the sake of Christ.” Paul tells us that suffering is “granted” to us – which means it is a gift.

Now, how can this be a gift?!?!  It’s a gift no one would actually want to receive if you ask me. But, somehow, even James says to consider it pure joy, when we go through suffering and trials for it, will bring about steadfastness and perseverance that we may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2)

3. PARTAKING

As we partake in the suffering, we are partaking it with Christ.
Paul in Philippians 3:10 desired to “know Christ and the power of His resurrection and share in His sufferings, being conformed to Him in His death.”

Furthermore, in Romans 8:17, we are told that “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

Sharing in His sufferings would mean sharing in His glory as well.

It definitely is easier to say it’s a privilege to partake in His sufferings. But the grace of God is overwhelmingly sufficient for His strength is made perfect even in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word that gives me comfort in times of trouble, strength in times of weakness and wisdom in times of confusion. In moments of suffering, You have promised that You will never leave nor forsake. For this, I am always grateful. May You grant me the grace to keep moving forward when I feel like giving up. I declare that this week is going to be a victorious week in the midst of difficult circumstances for victory is found as I live in Your presence daily.
IN JESUS’ NAME. AMEN.

“Lord, take me out of this suffering.”

This is often the prayer we utter when we go through a difficult time.
It’s really not a bad thing to pray for this because who wants to keep suffering?

However, getting you out of your circumstance may not necessarily the best thing at the moment.

Paul was stuck in prison for a total of 4 1/2 years.
Stephen was stoned to death and suffered for his faith.
Job lost his family and business though the Bible declared that he was a righteous man.
Jesus was nailed to a cross though He did wish at some point for the cup of suffering be taken away from Him.

God’s Providence.

It is possible that God sees something we can’t and is doing something we are unaware of.
His sovereignty over our life assures us that nothing happens by accident and nothing escapes His attention.

That’s why we are told to “give thanks in all circumstances.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

We are not to give thanks FOR all circumstances but IN all circumstances.

God’s Process.

Gold doesn’t become gold unless it goes through a process. And part of the process is going through the fire.
Fire removes the dross after which allows the brilliance to come forth.

1 Peter 1:7 tells us “These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

The ultimate result of the process? Genuine faith and the glory of God.

 

“Jesus says that the purpose of the blindness is to put the work of God on display. This means that for our suffering to have ultimate meaning, God must be supremely valuable to us. More valuable than health and life.” – John Piper

I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! (Philippians 3:10, 11 NLT)