The Suffering Saint
I would like to begin a short study on suffering. We already know the Lord has said that many are the afflictions of the righteous, Psalm 34:19; and that man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward, Job 5:7; also that through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God, Acts 14:22. So there can not be much argument from the believer that Jesus said that we must pick up our cross daily and follow Him, that the One who does not is not worthy of Him. It is a decision of counting the cross before we follow Him. Since we as believers have done that, sufferings will come. But we can endure, because He is faithful, and able to make us endure, to keep the faith, run the race that is set before us, and finish the course that He put us on. Phil.1:6 mentions that, "He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ."
As we embark on our little study, a couple of things will help us, enable us, and encourage us thru these sufferings we inevitably will face. One is that the better we know God, His sovereignty, His attributes, and His love for His children, the sufferings that we face will be met with more peace, more patience, and more perseverance. Daniel 11:32 states, “That they who know their God will be strong and do great exploits.” Also, knowing that the Scriptures are sufficient for us to get through any difficulty in life, to know they are true, can be counted upon, can be trusted, knowing they are accurate, inerrant, authoritative as coming from God Himself, that we do believe what is said in them throughout all 66 books of this book we call the Bible. These beliefs will help us much better deal with all that is going on around us and happening to us. Man can keep some promises he makes, only God can keep all the promises He makes.
Not being omnipotent like God is, we have very little power or control over our own health, our own finances, our own jobs, and a host of other things important to us. We most definitely can put effort and wisdom into keeping them the best we know how, but ultimately God is in control of how things began with us and how things will end. Psalm 139:16 states, "That the days ordained for me were all written in Your book, when as yet there was not one of them." God tests us at times, we feel affliction and pain through these. Like Abraham with Isaac in Gen.22:1, He tests His people as silver is refined and gold is tested, Zech.13:9, a fiery ordeal may come upon us, which comes upon us for our testing,1Peter 4:12, this testing of our faith, this testing of our trust in Him is to produce endurance, that we may make Him look glorious and that the world will see our endurance that He is who He says He is, and can and is able to do what He says He can.
So, I would like to take a look during the next weeks at 2 Cor. 1:5-11, and see what the Great apostle Paul has to say of God, mercy, comfort, affliction, sufferings, trust, hope, and prayers. So in the meanwhile you can read and study that passage and with the Holy Spirit's help we will all learn, grow, and endure through the trials we are going through now and will go through in the future. C.H. Spurgeon said, "The promises exceed all measurement, there is a chasm of depth in them as to meaning, a heaven of height in them as to excellence, and an ocean of depth in them as to duration. Peter says that the promises are exceeding great. Peter says they are, and he knew very well. They come from a great God, they assure us of great love, they come to great sinners, they work for us great results, and they deal with great matters." Lord willing, see you next week.
Elder Randy Slak