For a Little While...
“…though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith…may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” 1 Peter 1:6-7.
One of the most natural places our minds go in tough times is the quest for answers to our questions during challenging circumstances. ‘Why is this happening to me? Is my situation a consequence to something I have done wrong? Is God mad at me?’ I know I have pondered these questions at times when my walk was painful and times were unsettling. While I totally understand and believe that God does discipline those He loves, I am also confident that God’s nature is love first and foremost. God did not send sin and death, for that was a result of man’s fall. God does, however, bring ‘beauty from ashes.’ If our suffering is always based on sin, then as soon as we repent things should get better. The Bible speaks consistently of suffering for greater reasons…purifying and perfecting our faith…bringing glory and honor to God… showing those unbelievers reasons to believe.
Since the time of Job, which many scholars believe was the first written book of the Bible, man has been trying to lay blame at the feet of the sufferer. ‘As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same’ Job 4:8. We know his suffering was not due to sin in Job’s life. The disciples assumed the same thing. ‘His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Neither this man nor his parents sinned', he said.’ John 9:2. Elizabeth had lived a barren life which other people had assumed was due to sin, but they were considered righteous people according to God. ‘Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren’ Luke 1:6-7.
We move into dangerous territories when we assign sin to the trouble of others. There are wonderful blessings that flow out of our suffering. A crisis accomplishes great things in our lives as considered in Experiencing God by Richard Blackaby:
- It points to God’s unwavering love;
- It promotes dying to self and surrender;
- It proves our faith and anchors our beliefs;
- It prepares us for greater assignments
- It forces us to make adjustments to God in our lives.
It is not up to us to determine why a person suffers; instead, we are called to comfort with the same comfort we have been given. It is up to us to share in the sufferings of others as we have shared in the sufferings of Christ.
The greatest suffering ever experienced was from a man who knew no sin. So let us not waste our time trying to figure out why if we have truly repented of all sins. Instead, let us strive to walk an upright and blameless life with Christ.
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