Suffering for What?
This Bible verse was written by Peter the Apostle. I relate to him. He suffered persection for his outgoing faith. Here he speaks about the Messianic Jews suffering for a little while. He's talking about how they suffered for their belief that Jesus is their Messiah. They were attacked by Jews who didn't believe in Jesus and the Romans.
What is it like to suffer for your faith?
Perceptive suffering... how do we perceive our suffering? Is it a childish suffering, small in comparison to those big problems? The dictionary refers to suffering in many ways: hardship, distress, misery, wretchedness, adversity, tribulation, pain, agony, anguish, trauma, toment, torture, hurt, affliction, sadness, unhappiness, sorrow, grief, wor, angst, heartache, heartache, heartbreak, stress and more. These words stir up painful times in our lives, from childhood, teenage times and into adulthood. The pain may seem to increase each event that intrudes our life.
Christ Jesus suffered for us to take our pain. But we still have pain! So how does this work?
When Jesus is in our lives, He lives inside our spirit and soul and takes the pain.... when we let Him. Taking the pain? Yes.
The verse 1 Peter 5:10 says, "... the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you." This is an amazing truth of the Gospel. The good news about Jesus is that He Himself will embrace you in the midst of pain and tragedy and transform it. The miracle of suffering transformed by God's grace is experiential joy and confidence.
The greek background of the words perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish gives us a brilliant perspective on the transforming grace Jesus offers each person. As a christian, you can call on Jesus to take your suffering and overhaul it. He will reshape it, rearrange it, retool it and morph it into a new life inside you.
The strengthening Jesus offers you will cause you to overcome a similar painful experience the next time. How will you handle trauma the next time it comes around... the next time a friend betrays you? The christian can allow their faith to receive a new ability to be solidly planted in Christ and not vacilate! Their trust in God's ability to not only take the pain, but use it for good stabilizes them. Their relationship with God is strengthened.
When the enemy of your faith afflicts or assaults you and suffering occurs, you learn from it and the next you will better at resisting Satan. You can remember Christ's grace and rely on the transformation. It's as if you are more thoroughly engrafted into God's plan. He doesn't plan for you to suffer, but He works it for your good.
Here is a main point about suffering in the christian faith: Just as Jesus set His face to His "doom" and overcame it, we can now set our face to overcome our "doom" because it is by His power residing in us and His personal experience we are able to overcome.
He lived through the suffering for all people and now anyone who has accepted Him as Lord and Savior can experience Him comforting them, healing them and transmogrifying them. It is all by His miracle love and grace ! Faith, love and hope will last forever.
Getting hit with Covid-19... losing a job... your possessions stolen... your child dying... going though combat... recovery from a mental illness. Each of these are traumatic and so personal. Why does this happen to us?
I came down with covid in October 2021 and it hung on for more than 3 weeks. And my wife caught it from me. Suffering? Sickness. At about the second week I was miserable; wanting anything to relieve it. The doctors coudln't help and the depression I had overcome in the past had started to creep back. "No, I'm not going there again!" I boldly said to myself.
When you suffer, is it all a matter of perspective? If you've suffered before, do you handle it better the next time? For some, yes; others, no. For christians, how do they handle suffering? Perspective again. How close are they to their Savior Jesus? Hmmm. Does that affect their perseverance?
In the Bible it describes how Jesus suffered at the end of his life taking on the sins of the world in the garden of Gethesame and then dying on a Roman cross. But why? Why would God allow Him to suffer? The point behind this is profound. If I could put it in a nutshell, the sufferings of Christ resulted in the atonement of sins and healing for people. It is a spiritual message for the whole world. But then why would He allow His believers to then suffer? They have castestropic things happen to them. I was hospitalized five times for mental illness... to the point of experiencing psychosis. Both my wife and I were scared. Where was God in that? What was the purpose of my suffering and my wife's suffering?
Now having a wonderful recovery from mental illness I have another perspective. The eyes of my heart were enlightened and I received compassion for others. It's a gift to have compassion. It's a gift for others to receive through me. I can have a conversation with most people trying to overcome their mental disorders and they feel the connection. And that kind of connection is healing. I've suffered and gained a new view on life in its frailty and strength.
If and when depression, anxiety, fear, paranoia tries to take me down again I will be stronger to overcome it.
1 Peter 5:10
10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
Suffering for What?