Each day this month, we will consider key moments in God’s glorious plan to redeem us. We will understand both the overarching story of God and the highlights of all he’s done for us in Christ.
I will never forget a college student I ministered with named Peter. He prayed that he could suffer for the gospel. Can you believe that? We all came under significant opposition that year, Peter in particular. Yet we also saw many hear and respond to the gospel.
As we read God’s story, a collection of poetry interrupts the narrative. Let’s start with a look at Job, a book that is all about suffering.
God gave Satan permission to bring misery on Job. God allowed it, and Job lost his livelihood, most of his family, and his health. Job considered two possible responses to his circumstances: he could curse God or remain faithful.
“His wife said to him, ‘Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!’ He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’ In all this, Job did not sin in what he said” (Job 2:9-10).
Suffering is a mystery we have difficulty understanding, even when we know that suffering is both the result of, and the remedy for, a fallen world.
The human race corrupted God’s perfect world. Our bodies, our relationships, our environment do not reflect God’s ideal. Pain results. We all experience it.
God sees us suffering and cares enough to do something about it. To redeem mankind, God chose to suffer. “In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God … should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered” (Hebrews 2:10).
Scripture reminds us that to suffer for the gospel is necessary, inevitable, redemptive, and rewarding. Christ suffered to bring many into his kingdom. We do too as we partner with him to reach out to others. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Suffering for the gospel allows us to be comforted by God, to be refined in our faith, to be significantly used by God and rewarded in our efforts for the kingdom.
Lord Jesus,thank you for choosing freely to take on our humanity and suffer for us as a sacrifice for sin so that in eternity, we could be utterly delivered from all evil and suffering forever. Help us to embrace any suffering you allow in our lives, knowing it serves an eternal purpose. Amen.
Throughout This Day: Pray for all the people you know who are going through some form or other of suffering right now. Pray especially that they will draw close to God and trust him to bring good out of this evil.
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